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Washington DC--"Outrage was mounting at the 1999 hearing in the Rayburn House Office Building, where congressmen were learning about human trafficking. "A woman from Nepal testified that September that she had been drugged, abducted and forced to work at a brothel in Bombay. A Christian activist recounted tales of women overseas being beaten with electrical cords and raped. A State Department official said Congress must act -- 50,000 slaves were pouring into the United States every year, she said. Furious about the 'tidal wave' of victims, Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.) vowed to crack down on so-called modern-day slavery. "The next year, Congress passed a law, triggering a little-noticed worldwide war on human trafficking that began at the end of the Clinton administration and is now a top Bush administration priority. As part of the fight, President Bush has blanketed the nation with 42 Justice Department task forces and spent more than $150 million -- all to find and help the estimated hundreds of thousands of victims of forced prostitution or labor in the United States. "But the government couldn't find them. Not in this country...The administration has identified 1,362 victims of human trafficking brought into the United States since 2000, nowhere near the 50,000 a year the government had estimated." The International Marriage Broker Regulation Act of 2005 (IMBRA) unfairly targets men and men's civil rights. To read my blog posts on the subject, click here, here, and here. As so often happens, feminist groups and the government greatly exaggerated a problem women face, one which reflects poorly on men, and then passed an anti-male law because of it. According to Tristan Laurent of www.OnlineDatingRights.com: "The Washington Post uncovered widespread fraud in human trafficking reporting. Beginning in 2000, the US government has found sex trafficking a convenient target to attack and they have given millions and millions to stop it. NGOs and feminist groups have sprung up to lap up the gobs of money the feds and the states have spent on this essentially non-existent problem. The National Organization of Women, the Tahirih Justice Center, US Senator Maria Cantwell and others...have used these phony reports of massive human trafficking to justify [the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act of 2005], a law against men who want to meet foreign women, IMBRA." According to Laurent, in 2004 Cantwell told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee: "Human trafficking is the politic way of describing modern-day slavery...18,000 and 20,000 people are trafficked into the United States each year....When we talk about human trafficking and abuse, we need to also be aware of the advent of for-profit international marriage brokers - companies that operate solely to connect men and women of different nations with the intent of getting married." The Washington Post article is below. Human Trafficking Evokes Outrage, Little Evidence U.S. Estimates Thousands of Victims, But Efforts to Find Them Fall Short By Jerry Markon Washington Post, 9/23/07 Outrage was mounting at the 1999 hearing in the Rayburn House Office Building, where congressmen were learning about human trafficking. A woman from Nepal testified that September that she had been drugged, abducted and forced to work at a brothel in Bombay. A Christian activist recounted tales of women overseas being beaten with electrical cords and raped. A State Department official said Congress must act -- 50,000 slaves were pouring into the United States every year, she said. Furious about the "tidal wave" of victims, Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.) vowed to crack down on so-called modern-day slavery. The next year, Congress passed a law, triggering a little-noticed worldwide war on human trafficking that began at the end of the Clinton administration and is now a top Bush administration priority. As part of the fight, President Bush has blanketed the nation with 42 Justice Department task forces and spent more than $150 million -- all to find and help the estimated hundreds of thousands of victims of forced prostitution or labor in the United States. But the government couldn't find them. Not in this country. The evidence and testimony presented to Congress pointed to a problem overseas. But in the seven years since the law was passed, human trafficking has not become a major domestic issue, according to the government's figures. The administration has identified 1,362 victims of human trafficking brought into the United States since 2000, nowhere near the 50,000 a year the government had estimated. In addition, 148 federal cases have been brought nationwide, some by the Justice task forces, which are composed of prosecutors, agents from the FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and local law enforcement officials in areas thought to be hubs of trafficking. In the Washington region, there have been about 15 federal cases this decade. Ronald Weitzer, a criminologist at George Washington University and an expert on sex trafficking, said that trafficking is a hidden crime whose victims often fear coming forward. He said that might account for some of the disparity in the numbers, but only a small amount. "The discrepancy between the alleged number of victims per year and the number of cases they've been able to make is so huge that it's got to raise major questions," Weitzer said. "It suggests that this problem is being blown way out of proportion." But Tony Fratto, deputy White House press secretary, said that the issue is "not about the numbers. It's really about the crime and how horrific it is." Fratto also said the domestic response to trafficking "cannot be ripped out of the context" of the U.S. government's effort to fight it abroad. "We have an obligation to set an example for the rest of the world, so if we have this global initiative to stop human trafficking and slavery, how can we tolerate even a minimal number within our own borders?" He said that the president's passion about fighting trafficking is motivated in part by his Christian faith and his outrage at the crime. "It's a practice that he obviously finds disgusting, as most rational people would, and he wants America to be the leader in ending it," Fratto said. "He sees it as a moral obligation." Although there have been several estimates over the years, the number that helped fuel the congressional response -- 50,000 victims a year -- was an unscientific estimate by a CIA analyst who relied mainly on clippings from foreign newspapers, according to government sources who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the agency's methods. Former attorney general Alberto R. Gonzales told Congress last year that a much lower estimate in 2004 -- 14,500 to 17,500 a year -- might also have been overstated. Yet the government spent $28.5 million in 2006 to fight human trafficking in the United States, a 13 percent increase over the previous year. The effort has attracted strong bipartisan support. Steven Wagner, who helped HHS distribute millions of dollars in grants to community groups to find and assist victims, said "Those funds were wasted." "Many of the organizations that received grants didn't really have to do anything," said Wagner, former head of HHS's anti-trafficking program. "They were available to help victims. There weren't any victims." Read the full article here.

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