Bush Administration: Prostitutes Are Slaves

Dear Everyone;

A revealing article about the Bush administrations mindset that every prostitute is a slave. And if you disagree don't expect to head up the Trafficking in Persons office of the federal government. The article asks why the Bush administration ignores" real slaves " like farmworkers harvesting crops at gunpoint, domestic workers who are sexually abused and sweat shop workers locked in factories overnight are ignored.

Just repeal all laws governing consensual sex between consenting adults both federal and state.

Ron Getty
SF Libertarian



Enslaved, by definition
Joel Brinkley
Sunday, January 13, 2008
During the waning days of the Clinton administration, the Central Intelligence Agency published a groundbreaking study that said at least 700,000 men, women and children around the world are trafficked into slavery each year. New estimates since then have gradually increased the count. But if the Bush administration is to be believed, the actual number is closer to 7 million.
Slave trafficking victims are usually promised a good job in a distant country. But once they arrive, they are held against their will and suborned into sweat shop or agriculture labor, domestic servitude or forced prostitution. It is that last category, sex slaves, that the Bush administration has distorted to the point of absurdity.
Put simply, the administration has concocted the view that every prostitute, worldwide, is actually a slave; the very nature of the work amounts to slavery. That nonsensical position is a favorite of the Christian right, and a few years ago the administration enshrined it in law and began cutting off funding to aid groups that refused to make opposition to prostitution an official part of their charters. Two federal judges ruled the law illogical and unconstitutional, but the Justice Department appealed.
The result has been to pervert the federal program to fight slave trafficking in the United States and abroad. Under the Bush administration, it is largely a campaign to abolish prostitution.
Ambassador John Miller headed the federal Trafficking in Persons office when the prostitution policy was first enforced in 2003. Before he left office last year, I once asked him if he believed every prostitute is, de facto, a slave.
"No," he said, drawing out the word. "If you take the Melissa Farley study, in eight or nine countries including the U.S., 89 percent of prostitutes say they want to leave" the job. "So I guess you can say 11 percent are not slaves." Even then, he added, "50 percent of those are under 18. The law says they are slaves. So that means the vast majority of them are slaves."
Farley runs the Prostitution Research and Education organization in San Francisco, and her work serves as the intellectual basis for the federal policy. One study found that 89 percent of prostitutes interviewed in nine countries said they would like "to leave prostitution."
Is that a surprise? Did the study find that, to leave, they would have to be freed from the people who enslaved them? No, 75 percent of these women said their biggest needs were job training and a new home. Those don't sound like the primary concerns of slaves.
I asked Farley if she thought Washington was distorting and conflating her work. She believes prostitution is an abhorrent, dehumanizing practice that should be abolished. But to my question, she said: "I don't use the word slavery; it conjures up an image of a naked person on the dock. I am not going to diss the trafficking office, but that word gets in the way of what I am doing."
This would be an interesting academic argument but for the hundreds of thousands of people worldwide who are, in fact, enslaved, including farmworkers forced at gunpoint to harvest crops for no pay, women imprisoned as domestic slaves and then sexually abused, sweatshop workers locked in the factory at night and beaten if they try to escape.
The Bush policy seems to care little for these victims and instead pursues its ideological anti-prostitution campaign. Ask any of them to justify their view, and they will say, as Miller told me: "You've got to face the fact that you can't have sex slavery without prostitution."
That's a nonsensical syllogism. You can't have child molestation without children. So should we abolish kids? You can't have bank robberies without banks or auto theft without cars. For that matter, you can't have murders without people. The whole argument is absurd.
I haven't asked the current director of the federal trafficking office, Mark Lagon, how he feels about this issue. But it's not possible to hold the job without endorsing the prostitution campaign. The first person appointed to head that office seven years ago, Ambassador Nancy Ely-Raphel, was forced out because she disagreed.
"It was so ideological," she told me. "Prostitution, that's what was driving the whole program. They kept saying, 'If you didn't have prostitution, you wouldn't have trafficking.' I was happy to leave."
Lagon is not making that mistake. Speaking to an international audience last fall, he offered his view: "The demand for commercial sexual exploitation is the driver that we have to address in dealing with sex trafficking.
"If there were not demand for the purchase of women and girls," he added, "there would be no sex trafficking."
Joel Brinkley is a professor of journalism at Stanford University and a former foreign policy correspondent for the New York Times.