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Sex Trafficking Survivor Testifies Before Congress

November 5, 2013

Testifying before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Ways and Means Committee on October 23, 2013, in Washington DC, Withelma “T” Ortiz Walker Pettigrew, board member of Rights4Girls, shared her story of abuse and neglect in foster care and eventual introduction into sex trafficking. According to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, of the children who are reported missing and who are also likely sex trafficking victims, 60 percent were in foster care or group homes when they ran away. In her testimony, Ortiz Walker Pettigrew called on the government to improve the child welfare system, to enact safeguards to prevent other children from suffering a similar fate, and to provide trauma-informed services for those who do.


Read more about Ms. Ortiz Walker Pettigrew in the September/October 2012 issue of "OJJDP News @ a Glance."

Download the OJJDP-sponsored, Institute of Medicine report "Confronting Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Sex Trafficking of Minors in the United States."

Access resources from OJJDP’s National Girls Institute and learn more about OJJDP's programs and research addressing commercial sexual exploitation of children.