The Common Good
September-October 1999

Unity Against Sexual Trafficking

by Andrew Schleicher | September-October 1999

One-hundred and thirty-eight national religious leaders announced in June their support for the Freedom From Sexual Trafficking Act of 1999, introduced earlier this year by Rep. Chris Smith ...

One-hundred and thirty-eight national religious leaders announced in June their support for the Freedom From Sexual Trafficking Act of 1999, introduced earlier this year by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH). In their statement, the evangelical, Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish leaders asked Congress to end the "sinister trade that profits ruthless businessmen, criminals, and corrupt public officials at the expense of millions of women and children. The God-given dignity and integrity of each individual compels us to take action to combat this evil."

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The religious leaders' statement said that "effective legislation must include an enforcement mechanism that either causes the issue to be taken seriously by governments around the world or imposes democratic accountability on any president who fails to achieve that end." The letter cites the example of India, where 200,000 Nepali girls work as "virtual sexual slaves." The religious statement also contends that the U.S. government knows that more than 50,000 women and girls are trafficked into this country each year.

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