Sexual Trafficking Bill To Be Voted in House Today

July 7, 2008 - 7:02 PM

( Legislation to crack down on the sexual trafficking of women and children in the US is up for a vote in the US House today. The "Trafficking Victim's Protection Act" is sponsored by Congressman Chris Smith (R-N-J), Chairman of the House International Operations and Human Rights Subcommittee.

"The image of a young, innocent child being forcibly sold into the sex trade for the fiscal gain of one sick individual and the physical gain of another is tragic. The idea that we would allow it to go unpunished is even more so," Smith said in a statement on Capitol Hill.

"Each year, fifty thousand innocent women and young children are forced, coerced, or fraudulently thrust into the international sex trade industry with no way out," Smith said. "This brutal, demeaning, and disgusting abuse of women and children is predicated on their involuntary participation in sexual acts. This legislation will put these offenders behind bars while protecting the victim."

The bill has also picked up the support of such organizations as the National Organization for Women and its President, Patricia Ireland, feminist Gloria Steinem, as well as conservative commentator Janet Parshall and the Family Research Council. However, the Clinton White House has expressed opposition to the bill.

Smith also said his bill would see to it that "anyone who knowingly profits from the severest forms of trafficking should receive punishment commensurate with that given to those who commit other serious crimes, such as kidnapping or forcible rape. This legislation would not only protect the victims while going after the perpetrators, but it would serve as an effective deterrent."