The “silent crime” of human trafficking, and especially child sex trafficking, is getting a tiny bit louder.

Three bills aimed at curbing human trafficking quietly passed the House in mid-July. Thirteen others passed in May. The bills range from the allocation of funding toward prevention, to closing a loophole in the justice system about distributing images of child pornography.

“The reason they call trafficking a silent crime, is because you have shame and embarrassment on the child’s side, and then you have threats and coercion on the perpetrator’s side,” said Jan Edwards, founder and CEO of Paving the Way,a nonprofit aimed at preventing child trafficking.

The crime is so hidden that a reliable estimate of the prevalence of child sex trafficking in the United States doesn’t exist. Estimates vary wildly from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of cases per year.

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