In response to Secret Service personnel engaging in sexual exploitation abroad, Concerned Women for America (CWA), the nation’s largest public policy women’s group, asks if there is a link to sex trafficking in the Secret Service sex scandal in Cartagena, Colombia. CWA asks that the investigation into this national embarrassment include discovering any links to modern-day slavery (i.e., sex trafficking).
Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse, Senior Fellow of CWA’s Beverly LaHaye Institute, made the following statement:
“It is unconscionable that, on the one hand, the United States is a world leader in abolishing modern-day slavery, and, on the other hand, members of official U.S. delegations participate in the sexual exploitation of vulnerable girls and women in the nations where those public servants are sent to represent our government.
“The demand for prostitutes is the engine that drives the sex trafficking industry, now ranked as the #2 criminal activity around the world. We know that Colombia is a major source, destination, and transit country for sex trafficking and, while Colombia is ranked Tier One by the United States Department of State for its efforts to end the scourge of sex trafficking in that nation, there are many vulnerable populations, including displaced and indigenous groups, and a growing problem of forced sexual exploitation by gangs and criminal networks.
“If the twenty-something young women in the Colombia case follow a typical pattern, they were first caught up in prostitution at 12-14 years of age, and they didn’t choose to sell their sexual services. Even those who appear to be high-priced escorts do not always have the option of freely leaving their pimps or networks. Modern-day human trafficking involves more victims of slavery than during 19th century racial slavery. Often exploited women are required to meet quotas, sometimes servicing up to 10 men a night. One of the women interviewed in the New York Times said one of the men agreed to pay her $800 at the beginning of the night, but by the next day he offered her only $30. She finally agreed to $250, as that is the amount she said she pays the man — traditionally known as a “pimp” — who helps find her customers.
“The U.S. owes it to all the sex trafficking victims around the world to make sure that those Secret Service agents were not supporting the sex trafficking of vulnerable girls and women as it sounds like maybe they were.”