The underground trade in human beings is a modern-day slavery that is flourishing around the world to feed the demand for household workers, cheap laborers, and – primarily – prostitutes. The sex trafficking trade is growing faster than the efforts of the excellent U. S. State Department team of experts can keep up with. Wednesday at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), John Miller, who heads the Trafficking in Persons office at the U.S. State Department, led a panel and specifically praised the work of faith-based nongovernmental organizations who are doing the grassroots work to rescue victims by working with law enforcement officers and social workers or, as The Beverly LaHaye Institute (BLI) and Concerned Women for America (CWA) do, conduct the research and writing to inform the public and opinion leaders about the problem, and work in task forces and activist forums to raise awareness at the national and international policy levels.
There is so much that the public does not know, so much that even opinion leaders and policy makers do not know, because sex trafficking is an underground evil that lurks in the dark corners of society and hides from decent people. This problem has exploded in recent years and is growing faster than everyone’s best efforts can contain. As John Miller reminded the women at the CSW meeting, more than 700,000 children and women are trafficked across international borders every year and more than 50,000 come into the United States.
Those numbers are staggering! Every year nearly a million women and children are captured, tricked, kidnapped and brainwashed into submission by the most depraved of criminals. They are usually horribly cruel and abusive until the girls are willing to do whatever they ask. Then they are forced to feed the voracious sexual appetites of perverted men hour after hour – sometimes 30 or 40 a day.
Two audience reactions stand out from the panel discussion. (1) During the Question and Answer session, a courageous woman passionately asked John Miller when the United States would recognize that its pornography industry was the single largest feeder of prostitution and do something about stopping it. There was spontaneous audience applause. This response was interesting because, while most of the women hold far-left ideology, they still recognize the inherent harm of pornography for women – that pornography degrades, objectifies and dehumanizes women. (2) An audience member asked the panelist from Sweden about the effects of legalizing prostitution and police corruption. The panelist from Sweden declared that there was no police corruption there. The audience erupted in laughter. The panelist tried to continue his denial amid even more audience incredulity and laughter.
The inherent dignity of the representative from the International Justice Mission (IJM), a faith-based ministry, saved the situation. Sharon Cohen began telling with quiet authority about IJM’s experiences in working with people at the grassroots level to learn which law enforcement officers were trustworthy. They then made alliances and partnerships with those officers to expand those networks in order to save more victims.
Sharon is a strikingly beautiful lawyer who gave up a lucrative private practice to devote herself to the cause of abolition. Her commitment is obvious from her demeanor and from her focus. In just such individual examples, over and over again, the public has opportunity to see what works and to learn the TRUTH.
Sometimes when people are talking the message is obvious – the priority is rescuing victims OR the priority is a special agenda OR the priority is making money OR the priority is promoting myself OR the priority is putting someone else down OR on and on.
At the United Nations, such agendas become obvious for those who are regular participants. These days it is refreshing to have fresh breezes of truth occasionally blow through at the United Nations. It was worth sitting through hours of utopian spin and radical drivel to hear that sweet resonance of TRUTH for those few moments. Those who have ears to hear had the opportunity to hear; those who have eyes to see had the opportunity to see. We are making a difference in places where it counts. John Miller told the whole United Nations’ CSW that the faith-based groups were “getting the job done”! There is much work to be done.
BLI/CWA has accepted the challenge and we’re out there doing it – on the sex trafficking issue and at the UN where this week and next the focus is on the role of men and boys in gender equality and women in armed conflict and peace-keeping processes. You can count on plenty of fireworks at efforts to feminize men and bring women into combat, but you can also count on us to bring TRUTH to the deliberations and to represent your views at the tables.
Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse and Wendy Wright are non-government organization (NGO) representatives to the United Nations from Concerned Women for America. Dr. Crouse is Senior Fellow of the Beverly LaHaye Institute. Miss Wright is Senior Policy Director responsible for international and life issues. They are in New York attending the 2004 sessions of the Commission on the Status of Women.