Saturday, July 12, 2008

News of the day: Pollution and Sex Slavery

Here are two news items that caught my attention today. Also, Bishop Robinson has his first blog post up from England. Read it here.

U.S. Justice Department Supports Sex Slavery

I will let John Miller’s op-ed speak for itself. No analysis needed. Please, read the whole thing. This is one of the most important issues of our time – of any time.

From 2002 to 2006, I led the State Department’s efforts to monitor and combat human trafficking. I felt my job was to nurture a 21st-century abolitionist movement with the United States at the lead. At times, my work was disparaged by some embassies and regional bureaus that didn’t want their host countries to be criticized. I didn’t win every battle, but the White House always made it clear that the president supported my work and thought it was important.

Imagine my surprise, then, when the Justice Department started a campaign against a new bill that would strengthen the government’s anti-human trafficking efforts. In a 13-page letter last year, the department blasted almost every provision in the new bill that would reasonably expand American anti-slavery efforts.

Should the State Department’s annual report on trafficking, which grades governments on how well they are combating modern slavery, consider whether governments put traffickers in jail? The Justice Department says no. Should the Homeland Security and Health and Human Services Departments streamline their efforts to help foreign trafficking victims get visas and care? No. Should the Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, State and Justice Departments pool their data on human trafficking to help devise strategies to prevent it? Amazingly, no…

The department lost the battle in the House, which passed the new anti-human trafficking bill almost unanimously, by a vote of 405 to 2. Unfortunately, the department seems to have more influence with the Senate, where the bill is stalled in the Judiciary Committee. And Senator Joseph R. Biden, Democrat of Delaware, has introduced a bill that largely complies with the department’s views.

Senator Biden, you’re usually a great man, and have always had my unflagging support. Please do the right thing.

How’s this for environmental stewardship?

Bush’s arrogant parting shot to his fellow world leaders as he left the G8 summit: "Goodbye from the world’s biggest polluter!"

Our Creator must be so proud. And in the words of Kurt Vonnegut, "I’m kidding."


Dan said...

Hey Nathan, thanks for bringing that article to light. I'm taking a class on marginalized children in Latin America and we're currently talking about child prostitution. I think I'll pass this on to my professor.

Nathan Empsall said...

Hey, Dan. Thanks for your interest on this issue. You might also be interested in this PBS NOW episode about fighting child prostitution in Atlanta, or this NYT Bob Herbert column about going after the pimps instead of the children.