Sex Trafficking

January 27, 2000

They say that politics makes strange bedfellows, but this is perhaps the most eclectic coalition I have ever seen. Christian conservatives like William Bennett and Charles Colson have joined with feminist Gloria Steinem, Planned Parenthood head Gloria Feldt, and NOW president Patricia Ireland to protest attempts to weaken laws dealing with sexual trafficking.

The issue is a proposal that went before the United Nations to redefine the word "trafficking" to apply only to women who become prostitutes against their will. The protocols which were originally drafted would combat organized crime, including sexual exploitation of women and children through sexual trafficking.

Conflict arose over how the word "trafficking" should be defined. Most developing countries wanted to define the word to include anyone who sells a woman or child into prostitution. But several European countries have legalized prostitution and supported the so-called "Netherlands" definition. Under this definition, prosecution of sex traffickers would be restricted to those who profit from "forced prostitution."

One of the groups lobbying for this change has been President Clinton's Interagency Council on Women whose honorary chairperson is none other than Hillary Clinton. If the council gets its way, we could have what some believe would be a "Full Employment Act for pimps and brothel owners."

And does anyone really believe that any prostitution is "voluntary" for a girl whose family tells her they'll starve if she doesn't sell her body? What about women who move to the big city to get a job only to find out that job is in a brothel?

Proponents of the policy don't have a lot of patience for the squabble over the definition of "trafficking." But I salute Bill Bennett and Chuck Colson for making this an issue. After all, I don't think Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton should be trying to guide the United Nations on a definition of what is legal or illegal sexual activity.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.