White House May Block Crackdown on Sex Trafficking

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

(CNSNews.com)-Supporters of a bill to crack down on the sexual trafficking of women and children are now eying a vote in the US Senate and an uncertain fate at the White House, should the legislation get that far.

House members did pass their version of the bill Tuesday and the conservative group, "Family Research Council" calls the vote "a knight in shining armor."

Senators Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Paul Wellstone (D-MN) are proposing their own legislation to stop international sex trafficking. President Clinton, however may end up opposing the bill, according to Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ), the Chairman of the House Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights.

"The administration has almost this across-the-board inhibition to using anything but rhetorical flourish when it comes to human rights," Smith said at a Capitol Hill news conference Wednesday. "We''ve had ... over a hundred hearings over the last seven years, since I''ve been Chairman, on a myriad of human rights issues around the world. The administration is loathed, in every instance, to do anything other than jawboning to try to effectuate change."

A White House spokesman was unavailable to react to Smith's comments, but the Clinton administration is believed to be opposed to provisions in the bill that would require countries to show how well or poorly they're combatting sexual trafficking. Another White House concern revolves around which nations would be held responsible, those where the sexual trafficking originates or those that traffickers use as a destination.

The State Department says more than 50,000 women are victimized each year through prostitution, pornography, sex tourism, rape and slavery. "Innocent women and young girls are being exploited and sexually abused within our own borders, and the international sex traffickers are making a profit from it," according to Janet Parshall from Family Research Council.

The House-passed bill calls for jailing the traffickers and offering protection to victims who help identify their traffickers.