Bush Signs Anti-Human Trafficking Bill

President Bush signed a bill Tuesday to combat human trafficking, saying thousands of teenagers and young girls are brought to the United States each year and "forced to submit to unspeakable evil."

The bill renewed the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, the first comprehensive federal law for prosecution of traffickers. The Justice Department reported late last year that it had prosecuted 277 traffickers since 2001 and obtained convictions in every case. An estimated 75 percent of the prosecutions involved sex trafficking.

Victims have been found in brothels, bars, sweatshops, clandestine factories, restaurants, massage parlors and even private homes where women and girls are kept in servitude.

"It takes a perverse form of evil to exploit and hurt those vulnerable members of society," Mr. Bush said.

The government program also is meant to protect victims of sex trafficking who are rescued after being smuggled into the United States.

Mr. Bush said the legislation will provide new services to the victims.

"We'll continue to call on other nations to take action against trafficking within their own borders," Mr. Bush said.

He recalled that three years ago, at the United Nations, he asked other governments to pass laws making human trafficking a crime.

"Since then, many have risen to the challenge," Mr. Bush said.