December 7, 2005
Sex Trafficking Now No. 2 International Crime
by Pete Winn, associate editor
"Taking women and children by force and selling them as sex slaves is a greater tragedy than ever.Human trafficking is now tied with the illegal arms trade as the second-largest and second-fastest-growing criminal enterprise in the world—both of them trailing only the illicit drug trade.
According to the United Nations, more than 30 million people are literal slaves around the world—most held against their will for sexual purposes. Every year, 600,000 to 800,000 victims are trafficked across international borders, half of them children.
Dr. Janice Crouse, senior fellow at the Beverly LaHaye Institute at Concerned Women for America, said sex trafficking has become a $10 billion a year industry.
"It is absolutely astounding when you think that over 30 million people are caught in this form of modern day slavery," Crouse said. "That's what the president has called it, and that's what it actually is, really, because the people who are trafficked get very little of the money—'s the pimps and big-time criminals who are getting rich off the sex trafficking of little children and women."
Former Congresswoman Linda Smith, who heads the anti-trafficking organization Shared Hope International, has been fighting sex trafficking for the last eight years—from inside and outside of Congress.
She first discussed the problem with Focus on the Family Chairman Dr. James Dobson on a series of broadcasts in 2003.
"We had people literally call who had pulled off the road and were crying," Smith said. "They just could not believe what they heard as we told the stories of some of the women we've rescued around the world."
Smith said she's always thought the numbers of those caught in human trafficking could be even higher than statistics for the illegal arms trade or drug trafficking.
"We have thought for a long time that all three of those products went to market in somewhat the same way, along the same path, with the same bad guys," Smith said. "Part of that is funded by really bad criminal enterprises in the world. And a lot of those are the same people that are involved in terrorism."
The former congresswoman from Washington State can cite plenty of cases to illustrate what she's talking about. There's Hope, for instance, a young woman Shared Hope International has been helping.
"She's 14 and she was trafficked out of Africa into Amsterdam—one of the marketplaces of victimization that most people would know about," Smith told CitizenLink. "Hope was made to service many men a day—standing at a window. They would dress her up like a woman and have her smile—and if she didn't, she didn't get to eat. Then they would pull the curtain and she would service the men.
"She was raising about a thousand euro a day (more than $1,000), seven days a week. She was making more than a quarter of a million a year for them."
And you can find exactly the same kind of thing in America.
"I can show you the same thing in a ring we just discovered just walking distance from the Capitol," Smith said, "of Korean girls being brought in—brought to New York first—and then sold here to people that come in for business or tourism right here in D.C."
The trafficker, she added, doesn't really care where he brings his slaves—as long as there is a marketplace. Indeed, some women and children are actually being sold over the Internet.
"Most of the sales of this product are going the same way as the sales of shoes, the sales of cars and other things," Smith said. "It is a product, so yes, there are sales online."
Both Crouse and Smith say the Bush administration has made stopping trafficking a priority, with the president committing $50 million to restore and help victims.
Crouse, who has worked for nearly a decade to combat sex trafficking, said there won't be a reduction in the sex trade, though, until demand is addressed.
"While the U.N. blames social and economic disparities for fostering trafficking, the demand for prostitutes is the driving force behind sex trafficking where the victims overwhelmingly are women and girls," Crouse said.
There is action in Congress right now, she noted, on legislation sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., which would work to end the demand for sex slaves.
H.R. 972, the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005, is being finalized in the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday.
"We have to make it a bad thing to buy sex," Smith said, "because the reality is, it's going after younger and younger people—and the depravity is cycling down."
Shared Hope International, meanwhile, also is planning an upcoming education campaign.
The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday will finish marking up Rep. Chris Smith's bill, H.R. 972. It will be up to the leadership of the House whether to bring up the bill this year—or wait.
Please take time to urge your member of Congress to support H.R. 972—and encourage the House leadership to bring the measure for a vote right away.
For help in contacting your lawmakers, please see the CitizenLink Action Center.
To learn more about Shared Hope International and Concerned Women for America, please see their respective Web sites."
Thursday, December 08, 2005
I watched a movie recently on Human Trafficking. Below is an article from Focus on the Family about it. My eyes were opened to how widespread this is and how truly horrific it is. If your daughter gets sold into this and even if you get her back she will be scarred for life. It is a very scary prospect to me. One of the scariest things is how they often times take very young girls. When I have the time I am going to do more research on this. If you have a chance make sure you call your member of congress. I also urge you to visit the Shared Hope International website which I have linked.