Clark-Fox Policy Institute to Hold Briefing on Human Trafficking

Tuesday, October 31st, 2017 @ 9:48AM

The sexual exploitation of women is finally receiving the public attention needed to end this gruesome activity. The question remains whether this will be a sustained campaign or another moral issue that gains exposure and fade in time. Somehow this feels like it will last for a while as women are putting aside their shame and exposing themselves to hurtful responses from those who would minimize the trauma they have experienced. When the admitted crotch-grabber in the White House labels the more than a dozen women who have accused him of sexual improprieties as liars and threatens them with legal retribution, you must appreciate their courage to make public their stories.

One dastardly area of sexual exploitation that does not nearly get the attention it deserves is the practice of human trafficking. According the Palermo Protocol adopted in 2000 by the United Nations, “Trafficking in persons” shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.”

Gary Parker

On Tuesday, November 14, from 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm in Capitol hearing room HC-8, Gary Parker, director of the Clark-Fox Policy Institute at the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, will lead a delegation of Missouri researchers, advocates, law enforcement representatives, service providers and survivors to Capitol Hill to bring attention to the dehumanizing industry of trafficking in persons. Registration is required to attend the briefing and the public is welcome.  RSVP to Maren.Kazin@mail.house.gov.

The briefing, co-sponsored by CRISP in conjunction with the office of Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-MO-2) who has introduced several bills addressing human trafficking. H.R. 2473—Put Trafficking Victims First Act of 2017—co-sponsored by social worker Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-CA-37), was passed by voice vote in House and is now in the Senate Judiciary Committee. A companion bill, S. 1504 was sponsored in the Senate by New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. Another bill sponsored by Rep. Wagner, H.R. 459—Trafficking Survivors Relief Act of 2017, would vacate sentences and expunge the records of trafficking victims. The bipartisan legislation has 33 co-sponsors (23 Republicans and 10 Democrats).

Parker will be joined by members of the Human Trafficking Collaborative Network (HTCN) organized last year by Dr. Rumi Kato Price, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine, with the sponsorship of Washington University’s Institute of Public Health (IPH) in collaboration with the Brown School, the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Medicine and the Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes Jewish College. “With this panel of dedicated experts and our bipartisan legislative partners, we will continue to educate policymakers about the supports needed to aid human trafficking survivors as they rebuild their lives,” stated Parker.

According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), at any time in 2016, nearly 25 million people worldwide were in some form of forced servitude or “modern day slavery.” Another 15 million were in forced marriages. About 4.8 million women, men and children were sexually exploited; others were in forced labor exploitation activities. Women accounted for 99 percent of those in sexual bondage. Data for the United States are not good. The National Human Trafficking Hotline estimates about 7,621 cases were reported in 2016; nearly 6,000 of those cases were for sex trafficking.

There has been no shortage of legislation addressing modern day slavery in the United States. President Barack Obama signed the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015 on May 29, 2015, strengthening protections and services of trafficking victims. The Department of Homeland Security Blue Campaign Authorization Act of 2017 was passed in the Senate by voice vote earlier this month; a companion bill was passed earlier by the House. The bill amends the 2002 Homeland Security Act to provide specific programs and resources to address human trafficking. No one should be subjected to unwanted sexual advances and it is high time society puts its full weight behind efforts to eradicate these malevolent crimes.

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