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Hillary Fights for Traffickers

Hillary Clinton currently heads her husband's Interagency Council on Women, which is leading the fight to redefine prostitution in a way that would effectively legalize trafficking, making it virtually impossible for governments to fight the global slave trade. Hillary's Council is participating in negotiations in Vienna over language. Her group supports qualifying the word "trafficking" to apply only to "forced" prostitution.

According to the CIA, up to 2 million women and girls worldwide are trafficked each year. More than 50,000 are brought into the United States and forced into sexual bondage. Clearly, governments and the U.N. are not taking nearly enough action against this trade. Any governmental discussions on trafficking should be focused on how to more effectively counter trafficking. Instead, governmental groups, particularly in the U.S. and Europe, are trying to figure out how to make trafficking easier for the traffickers.

Feminists, along with some religious leaders, are fighting to defend the long-standing U.N. language which outlaws the trafficking of human beings for any reason, voluntary or coerced. The 1949 convention requires punishment of any person who "exploits the prostitution of another person, even with the consent of that person."

Limiting the crime of trafficking to "forced" prostitution would fail to "cover some of the most common methods of sex trafficking which prey on and profit from the economic desperation of women, girls, and their families by securing their 'consent' to sale in prostitution," wrote feminist leaders Gloria Steinem and Patricia Ireland. Such a change in language would pave the road for criminals and businessmen to practice their slave trade without harassment or interference from government.

From a legal standpoint, the new U.N. wording would be "a virtual bar to prosecution," warns J. Robert Flores, a former prosecutor with both the New York District Attorney and the U.S. Department of Justice. The phrase "forced prostitution" would place the traffickers' victims--typically poor women displaced in a foreign land--in the impossible situation of having to prove their prostitution was coerced.

(source: New York Post, 7/17/00)

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