Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Hillary Challenges Human Trafficking
I was thrilled to read this comment from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her confirmation hearings:

As Secretary of State I view these issues (human trafficking) as central to our foreign policy, not as adjunct or auxiliary or in any way lesser from all of the other issues that we have to confront. I too have followed the stories: this is not culture, this is not custom, this is criminal … I’ve also read closely Nick Kristof’s articles over the last many months on the young women he’s both rescued from prostitution and met who have been enslaved, tortured in every way: physically, emotionally, morally and I take very seriously the function of the State Department to lead the U.S. Government through the Office on Human Trafficking to do all that we can to end this modern form of slavery. We have sex slavery. We have wage slavery and it is primarily a slavery of girls and women.

I hope she follows through on this pledge. I also hope she realizes the impact that our immigration policies and prostitution laws have on the inability of trafficked women to seek help. As Jim Wallis suggests, we need to criminalize buying sex while decriminalizing selling sex, so as to dry up the demand without punishing the victims. We also need to stop prosecuting women who have been trafficked into this country for being "illegal immigrants". (Actually, I think we need to get rid of the whole concept of "illegal" immigration altogether by opening our borders, but I've already written about that.)

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posted by Mike Clawson at 12:11 PM | Permalink |


1 Comments:


At 1/28/2009 05:53:00 PM, Anonymous Miko

There's never been an instance in history when criminalizing something lowered demand for it. Indeed, it usually just makes things worse: anti-abortion laws have given us back-alley abortions, anti-gun laws in Britain have led to an explosion in knife-related violence, anti-condom laws have given Africa an AIDS epidemic, the drug war has led to the creation of more potent and dangerous designer drugs (because they can be brewed at home instead of imported), etc.

On the other hand, in a state like Nevada with legalized prostitution, we see (some) appropriate safety measures taken and no need to resort to trafficking to continue the trade. (Although of course the Nevada model is far from perfect: regulations are written in ways which tend to benefit the brothel owners and work to protect only the health of clients rather than also protecting employees.)

What we need to do is decriminalize both the supply and the demand: legislating morality has never and will never succeed; indeed, it almost always leads to even worse "back-alley" behaviors.

And I agree completely with your view on immigration: I don't object to a quick check point to keep out terrorists and epidemics, but open borders and open immigration are the way to go.

 

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