Outside the U.S. Capitol this week, members of Congress observed a moment of silence and prayed for the safe return of hundreds of girls kidnapped by militants in Nigeria three weeks ago.
Outside the Nigerian Embassy Wednesday, a group of Congresswomen demanded international help to find the girls and bring their kidnappers to justice.
"When you take over 200 girls at one time, having killed almost 4,000 people in two years, it draws the nation and the world’s attention for the immediacy of getting this thug," said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee D-Texas.
The Obama administration has promised to help. Secretary of State John Kerry says the U.S. is willing to provide intelligence and hostage negotiation expertise.
"We remain deeply concerned about the welfare of these young girls, and we want to provide whatever assistance is possible in order to help with their safe return to their families," said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
The group responsible for the kidnappings is a terrorist group called Boko Harram. Its name means ‘Western education is sinful.’ Last month, armed members of Boko Haram overpowered security guards at an all-girls school in Nigeria and yanked nearly 300 girls from their beds. According to accounts, the group's leader threatened to sell the girls into forced marriage and slavery.
"We can be part of coordinating a world effort that stops in his tracks this violent killer, thug terrorist," Jackson Lee said.
The congresswomen are calling for a victims' fund, and they say they want the Nigerian government to establish a military unit focused solely on finding the kidnappers.
In a show of support, they say they plan to read the kidnapped girls' names on the floor of the House.
"It will be in their names that we will not stop until we as a world family find these girls," said Jackson Lee.