This past week, in a rather startling exhibition of political posturing or stupidity, the Democratic leadership in the Senate blocked passage of a bill that would crackdown on human sex trafficking in the United States and around the world. The reason given is language in the bill that would prohibit any funds from being used for abortion services except in the cases of rape, incest, or a threat to maternal life. This has been the official policy of the United States for almost three decades now and is regularly inserted into any spending bill. It is the Hyde Amendment.
This bill would crack down on human sex trafficking by increasing fines then diverting that money into a fund to help the victims of human trafficking. According to the expert testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, it was expected to raise $30 million annually. During initial debate on the floor of the Senate, some questioned those figures. [mc_name name=’Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’L000174′ ] correctly noted that often when fines are stiffened, they remain uncollected and the offender ends up in jail instead. Not only is there no revenue, but then it costs the government to incarcerate these people. Grassley noted that was a legitimate concern, but he urged Senators to heed the advice of experts. Additionally, the law would expand the definition of human trafficking into the digital age making it a crime under this law to transmit, sell, or produce child pornography if the minor was a victim of human sex trafficking.
It needs to be noted that this bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously. There is no controversy here and no politics (unless you are a Democrat). Human sex trafficking is a problem as the following statistics indicate:
- 800,000 humans annually are trafficked across international borders
- the global sex traffic trade is estimated to involve 1 million people annually
- 50% of transnational victims of sex trafficking are children under the age of 18
- 70% of females trafficked are forced into the sex trade
- human trafficking is a $32 billion annual business
- about 17,500 people are illegally trafficked into the United States every year for sex purposes
- about 244,000 Americans are the victims of human sex trafficking domestically
- an estimated 38,000 minor runaways are forced into sex trade every year
- the average age of forced entry into prostitution is 12-14 years old
Given the statement of the problem and one you expect there to be wide bipartisan agreement upon, why would Democrats block passage of this bill? Their stated reason is that Republicans “slipped” language into the bill that would bar funding for abortion. However, this is routine language inserted into every bill. In order to illustrate that their arguments are ludicrous, McConnell has offered Reid an opportunity on an amendment subject to an up-or-down vote to strip the bill of the anti-abortion funding language. Reid rejected that offer because he knows he does not have the votes to further his pro-abortion side. Instead, he intends to obstruct this bill.
In effect, they are obstructionists against a law that would actually help the victims of sex trafficking. But, the excuses get even worse. Now they claim that the Republicans “slipped in” the language from a previous edition of the bill from 2014. Could it be that Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee failed to read the bill before they unanimously voted on it? It certainly would not be the first time Democrats didn’t read a law before passing it, but this is no 2,000 page tome reordering 16% of the American economy. This is rather straightforward.
However, it goes a little bit deeper than obstruction and/or stupidity. This is the third time since Obama obtained office that Democrats have sided with the pro-choice crowd. Previous to 2009, the United States Catholic Church had been awarded a five-year $19 million grant to help the victims of human sex trafficking. From 2006 to 2009, they helped an estimated 3,000 such victims. The Obama administration pulled that funding and awarded it to three other groups that had no religious affiliation and no stated opposition to abortion. It was the subject of abortion- not malfeasance in the use of funds or an inability to help victims- that dictated their policy.
Obviously, pro-choice Democrats have hijacked this bill towards advancing their own political ends. If this language which mirrors the Hyde Amendment is good enough for every other piece of legislation that comes out of Congress, why not in this case? I ask you honestly: Who now is raging the real war on women? Most importantly, who is raging a war on the most vulnerable women?