The history of the War on Trafficking offers valuable perspective on why the USA is a poor candidate to lead an international War on Trafficking. Here it is and, be warned, it is an ugly story, a farce – –
I cannot emphasis enough that this is a faux-issue created and sustained by extreme and sensational media. Its earliest root lie with Congress and the CIA.
Two people, a Christian missionary and a woman from Nepal who had been sexually abused, spoke in front of Congress. Congress wanted to know more and in 1999 directed the CIA to provide the numbers of people being trafficked into the USA. Repeat, into! Being a long term government employee myself I have seen policy created ad hoc. If Congressmen hint they want to see a big problem, that is what they get, a big problem. One CIA researcher estimated that 50,000 people are illegally trafficked in the USA every year. This was later proven to be totally false.
The Bush administration took the lead, with bi-partisan approval, to find and rescue those victims which, at the rate of 50,000 per year, must be at least several hundred thousand. Are you keeping up with this? That’s several hundred thousands of trafficking victims IN the USA. Amazing! We have to dooo something NOW!
The USA spent millions of dollars (1) to fund 42 task forces of Justice Department and Immigration Department staff spread around the country where trafficking victims were thought to reside. (2) Even more money was spent to train people to train people to train people (their words) to recognize victims of trafficking sure to be found in every aspect of American life. This certainly piled on more fear in American to go along with our fears of terrorism and gun violence. That was one more step to make the Home of the Brave into the Home of the Afraid! Thanks a lot W.
The six year history of this massive, expensive effort is best summarized by the title of a Washington Post report on September 23, 2007: Human Trafficking Evokes Outrage, Little Evidence – US Estimates Thousands of Victims, But Efforts to Find Them Fall Short.
This article reported only 1,362 victims of trafficking were identified between 2000 and 2007 and only 148 federal cases were brought nationwide. In other words, the entire program was a big bust. If not a bust, it was certainly a very expensive way to prove that the issue of trafficking was totally misunderstood.
Now the same USA is the country conducting a War on Trafficking. It effectively makes every country in the world our combatant as we demand countries – mostly those who are not our friends to be frank, our buddies get the softball – to ignore their national sovereignty and do what the USA demands – under threat. Scary results are described in other posts.
After huge expectations fell flat regarding trafficking into the USA, was there a lesson to be learned? I think so. You see, history tends to repeat itself. Now that the War on Trafficking has effectively made enemies for the USA around the world, the USA has more at stake. They need to succeed this time, right?! They can’t lose face!
Stripped of the normal speechifying and rewarding heroes, etc, the major focus of the 2013 Trafficking in Person report tells us a lot about the current status of our War on Trafficking. At the heart of the 2013 TIP report are eight pages alternating between begging and demanding other countries to find more victims. It comes off as a new mantra. Instead of repeating Hari Hari Krishna over and over, they repeat Find more victims / Find more victims! That main section concludes by admitting that there just are not enough victims being found. This 2013 TIP report certainly sounds like history repeating itself to me.
At some point the entire War on Trafficking must be declared a mistake, a failure. If, both in the USA and now internationally, the numbers of trafficked victims are far less than the USA expects, it seems to me like it’s time to rethink our War on Trafficking. TIP is a farce now that we can see it clearly.
Is it possible that sensational media has the American public in an outrage again about this horrible, but entertaining, issue which in fact may not be big or horrible at all?
Is it possible that the American Congress is responding to that misunderstanding on the part of their constituents?
Is Congress giving marching orders to our State Department, orders which many people around the world resent?
Is there any way for America to save face on the international scene by stepping away from this faux-issue of trafficking and stick to our problems at home? TIP is a farce, a mistake for sure!
After the 2013 TIP report Russia, the worlds 8th biggest economy, and one smaller country, Guyana, spoke up very publicly against the annual TIP report. How many other countries, angry and insulted by TIP, will speak publicly this year?
How many countries does it take to make a stand and speak out against America’s TIP before it falls flat on its face? TIP is a farce that should be put back in the drawer.
Is it better for Congress to take these considerations seriously now as opposed to watching the inevitable abandonment of this War on Trafficking by our friends and allies?
These are questions you should be asking your congressmen and congresswomen.