Labor Slavery vs. Sex Slavery

An opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times yesterday by E. Benjamin Skinner, author of A Crime So Monstrous: Face-to-Face with Modern-Day Slavery:

In its first term, the Bush administration spoke out strongly against human trafficking, laying out the most aggressive anti-slavery agenda since Reconstruction. But politics hamstrung its implementation. Pressed by a coalition of academic feminists and evangelical conservatives, American officials focused mainly on eliminating prostitution, despite overwhelming evidence that, worldwide, more than 90% of modern-day slaves are not held in commercial sexual slavery.

Before his reelection, President Bush spoke frequently about slavery, including two rousing speeches he gave before the U.N. General Assembly. But in each case, the president only detailed his concern for those in the commercial sex industry, never mentioning debt bondage (in which a person is forced into slavery in order to pay off an initial debt) or labor trafficking. Over the last two years, the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons has dedicated four times as much of its budget to fighting sex slavery as it did to combating other forms of slavery.

To read the whole piece, visit the LA Times.


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