Sex Trafficking and Securing the Border

 

The stories are heartbreaking. Maria Elena was only 13 years old when a family friend told her she could make 10 times as much money waiting tables in the United States than she could in her village in Mexico. The proposition sounded too good to pass up, so she went for it.

She and several other girls were driven across the border, and then continued the rest of the way on foot. They traveled four days and nights through the desert, making their way into Texas, then crossing east toward Florida. Finally, Maria Elena and the other girls arrived at their destination, a rundown trailer where they were forced into prostitution. Maria Elena was gang-raped and locked in the trailer until she agreed to do what she was told. She lived under 24-hour watch and was forced to have sex with up to 30 men a day. When she got pregnant, she was forced to have an abortion and sent back to work the next day. Maria Elena finally made her escape only to be arrested along with her traffickers.

From 1998 to 2011, members of the Granados-Hernandez sex trafficking group smuggled young women from Mexico illegally into the United States and forced them into the commercial sex trade in New York, collecting all their profits.

When the victims arrived in New York, they learned – most for the first time – that the Granados-Hernandez’s organization intended to sexually exploit them for money. When they refused or resisted, the women were beaten, sexually assaulted and told that their families would be harmed.

The victims of sex trafficking aren’t just from Mexico.

At a Halloween party in Oxon Hill, Md., … the trafficker met a 12-year-old runaway who asked for his help in finding a place to stay. Instead, the trafficker – a long-time member of the notorious MS-13 gang [from Central America] – forced the young girl into the commercial sex trade the very next day. For more than 3 months, he held her captive, coercing her to have sex for money multiple times a day at a variety of businesses, homes, apartments and hotels in Northern Virginia.

In 2010, 29 people were indicted in a sex trafficking ring in which Somali Muslim gangs in Minneapolis allegedly forced girls under age 14 into prostitution in Minnesota, Tennessee, Ohio, and other places. Unfortunately, every defendant who has gone to trial has either been acquitted or had their conviction thrown out. The government’s case has been weakened because a key witness, a Somali refugee and former gang member, has refused to testify, saying he is afraid for himself and his family.

Concerns about sex trafficking are growing in the United States, especially in light of the rise of Muslim gang rape and sex trafficking in Sweden and the rest of Europe. As politicians debate immigration reform, the need to secure our borders is a vital one for many reasons—including sex trafficking.

As Olivia Snow wrote at the Heritage Foundation blog in 2011, “Annually, 27 million people are trafficked, and they are in need of help. Strategies that recognize the root of the problem—a crime-ridden border—will help to provide a solution. Amnesty is not the answer.”

Victims of human trafficking are trapped in a cycle of abuse, and those who attempt to escape are often met with death. Maria told the story of a friend who tried to escape—she recalls the gang members pouring gasoline over her friend, lighting her on fire, and continuing to beat the young girl even as she burned to death.

Justice must be served. And those like Maria and the 27 million others who are in bondage to modern slavery must be set free.

Washington and the Obama Administration cannot turn a blind eye to the daily tragedy of millions.

Neither can conservatives. We’re often accused of not caring about immigrants and minorities—or women—but that is far from the truth. We believe in the dignity of the individual; all individuals. We believe in freedom. Pushing back against sex trafficking, against the modern slave trade both at home and abroad, is one issue we can all rally around.

Conservatives want stronger borders because we care about women and children; we don’t want any more girls like Maria to suffer at the hands of predators. We don’t want our children, our beautiful daughters, taken from us and sold as sex slaves to feed the lusts and fill the pockets of evil men. Whether it’s at the border involving immigrants or domestic trafficking, we can step up and do something about it—and a good place to start is securing the border.

If you’re interested in learning more about human trafficking, the Polaris Project, a nonprofit organization for combating all forms of human trafficking, is a great resource. The Department of Health and Human services has also provided a memo on identifying and interacting with victims of sex trafficking.

There are 73 comments.

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  1. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Foxman

    Legalize and license prostitution.  Problem solved.

    • #1
  2. Profile Photo Inactive
    @DCMcAllister
    Foxman: Legalize and license prostitution.  Problem solved. · 9 minutes ago

    Legalization of prostitution won’t end sex trafficking. It will just turn pimps and rapists into businessmen. This has proved to be true in the Netherlands, Germany, and Australia where exploitation has increased with legalization.

    • #2
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    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Why is the government so incompetent at convicting these people. In the case of Minneapolis It mentioned a key witness problem, but why could these people be locked up for assault, kidnapping, murder, slavery? There had to be other things they were doing wrong that they could go to jail for.

    • #3
  4. Profile Photo Thatcher
    @NoCaesar

    This is one reason why Taken has been such a popular movie.  It hits a non-PC truth.

    • #4
  5. Profile Photo Thatcher
    @NoCaesar
    Fake John Galt: Why is the government so incompetent at convicting these people. …

    Because they were too busy snooping on conservative, reporters, etc.  Seriously, in all matters of life there is always a finite limit to resources (time, personnel, or material).  When government does things it shouldn’t be doing, it ends up being unable to do the things it should be doing. 

    • #5
  6. Profile Photo Coolidge
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    @DCM#2: please parse “exploitation has increased with legalization”, if what is beings said is that prostitution exploits women and if you legalize it you get more of it I would agree. But there seems to be different types of exploitation. If you legalize prostitution do you get more sex traffickers that enslave and abuse people? If so why? When we legalized liquor we may have gotten more alcohol abuse but we got less alcohol related crimes. What is different between the two?

    • #6
  7. Profile Photo Member
    @HartmannvonAue
    Fake John Galt: @DCM#2: please parse “exploitation has increased with legalization”, if what is beings said is that prostitution exploits women and if you legalize it you get more of it I would agree. But there seems to be different types of exploitation. If you legalize prostitution do you get more sex traffickers that enslave and abuse people? 

    Germany’s experiment with legalized prostitution says, “Ja.” Legalization, it is so often argued, will make it safe. Wrong. The demand from sleazy, weak men who can’t invest in real relationships will always exceed the supply of women who have low enough self-respect and dignity to allow themselves to be treated as sex toys for money.  Where there’s a demand, someone will be forced to supply. 

    • #7
  8. Profile Photo Member
    @HartmannvonAue
    D.C. McAllister

    Foxman: Legalize and license prostitution.  Problem solved. · 9 minutes ago

    Legalization of prostitution won’t end sex trafficking. It will just turn pimps and rapists into businessmen. This has proved to be true in the Netherlands, Germany, and Australia where exploitation has increased with legalization. · 30 minutes ago

    Yup. And there has only recently been some pushback, thank God. Augsburg made streetwalking illegal again earlier this year. If I read/hear of any other positive developments on this front I will share them. 

    • #8
  9. Profile Photo Inactive
    @DCMcAllister

    Yes, you get more people who enslave and abuse people. I think the reason is clear. If you have an entire industry open up before you to make money, you need to increase your workers. In this case, women willing to sell themselves. Pimps see a greater opportunity to make money without risk. They must increase their workers, and it’s a plus, in their minds, if they can get those workers and not pay them. Conclusion, kidnap women and put them to work for you. The demand is greater because it is legal. The opportunities are greater because it is legal. All they need is more women on the streets to increase the incomes. 

    • #9
  10. Profile Photo Member
    @katievs

    I wish better border security would solve the problem! I doubt it, though. 

    The problem is that we’re cultivating the appetite right here at home.

    • #10
  11. Profile Photo Inactive
    @DCMcAllister

    Fake John Galt—I understand the arguments about legalized prostitution from a libertarian standpoint, that it’s a woman’s own body and she can do what she wants with it even if that means selling it for sex. I get that and am sympathetic to the argument on a purely libertarian basis. However, in prostitution, it is often not just women making the decision about what to do with their own bodies. It’s the pimps. It’s an entire industry, and one that will encourage more rape, more abuse of children, and more sex trafficking if made legal. This is just a fact that must be dealt with when deciding on legalizing the “business.” Some countries have chosen to make it legal, but it’s not a panacea. 

    • #11
  12. Profile Photo Inactive
    @DCMcAllister
    katievs: I wish better border security would solve the problem! I doubt it, though. 

    The problem is that we’re cultivating the appetite right here at home. · 2 minutes ago

    It definitely won’t solve the problem, but it will curb it, and keep it from coming over the border. It will not solve the problem of home-grown sex traffickers any more than border security will solve home-grown terrorists. But we can be sure that border security will at least cut down the numbers on both counts.

    • #12
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    @billy
    Foxman: Legalize and license prostitution.  Problem solved. · 1 hour ago

    How much would the application fee be for a 13 year old child, excuse me, Dreamer to get her state-issued prostitution license?

    • #13
  14. Profile Photo Member
    @Britanicus

    As someone who lives in one of the northern Virginia apartment complexes, I shuddered when I read that post. It’s quite possible that one of those girls ended up in my apartment complex.

    D.C., your point about how the libertarian argument for prostitution legalization doesn’t stand up to the light of day got me thinking. I’ll accept that there are many men who, if freed from public shaming and the law, would solicit a prostitute (hell, there were points in my life where I may have) but I don’t think that they would be as willing if they knew the girl offering her body wasn’t doing so by choice.

    No Caesar: This is one reason why Taken has been such a popular movie.  It hits a non-PC truth. · 35 minutes ago

    The premise of this movie is my nightmare. It would be a much more depressing story if the father involved wasn’t an ex spy, but an accountant. What the hell do you do then?!

    • #14
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    @FredCole

    If you had a system for this girl to come to the US in a convenient and legal way, she wouldn’t have had to break the law to get here.  She wouldn’t have had to put her fate in the hands of criminals to get her here.

    Our system didn’t allow that, so she put herself into hands of criminals, and it led to her exploitation.

    State action (immigration restrictionism) caused this to happen.  How is more state action (more border enforcement) somehow the solution?

    • #15
  16. Profile Photo Member
    @Britanicus
    billy

    Foxman: Legalize and license prostitution.  Problem solved. · 1 hour ago

    How much would the application fee be for a 13 year old child, excuse me, Dreamer to get her state-issued prostitution license? · 0 minutes ago

    Oh, butof course! we wouldn’t allowchildren to go into this profession! These slippery slope arguments are nothing more than fear mongering. /sarcasm off

    Part of me is amused at the libertarian arguments in favor of legalizing drugs/prostitution. They see no problem with setting up another government agency that will expand the state’s control and fill up state coffers. Although, I suppose you could argue that if drugs and prostitution were legalized, that you would no longer need the DEA and other such agencies.

    Of course, when has a government agency ever gone away simply because it was no longer needed?

    • #16
  17. Profile Photo Inactive
    @FredCole
    billy

    Foxman: Legalize and license prostitution.  Problem solved. · 1 hour ago

    How much would the application fee be for a 13 year old child, excuse me, Dreamer to get her state-issued prostitution license? · 1 minute ago

    People visit prostitutes.  There’s an obvious market for it, that’s why it’s the world’s oldest profession.

    If you have legal prostitution, licensed, clean, regulated, then people seeking those services, most of whom are not criminals by disposition, can snub the pimps who keep 13 year old sex slaves.

    • #17
  18. Profile Photo Inactive
    @DCMcAllister
    Fred Cole: If you had a system for this girl to come to the US in a convenient and legal way, she wouldn’t have had to break the law to get here.  She wouldn’t have had to put her fate in the hands of criminals to get her here.

    Our system didn’t allow that, so she put herself into hands of criminals, and it led to her exploitation.

    State action (immigration restrictionism) caused this to happen.  How is more state action (more border enforcement) somehow the solution? · 2 minutes ago

    Border enforcement could have helped to prevent it because she wouldn’t have been able to cross the border in the first place. Border enforcement isn’t just another “state action.” It’s a legitimate responsibility of the the government, both state and federal (mainly state). 

    • #18
  19. Profile Photo Inactive
    @DCMcAllister
    Fred Cole: 

    State action (immigration restrictionism) caused this to happen.  

    I don’t think this caused the problem. 13 year olds shouldn’t typically be allowed to become legal citizens on their own. 

    Not everyone from every poor nation will be able to become a citizen. That’s just a fact. We need immigration standards. The problem is we don’t even enforce the ones we have. But for this case, the secure border would have kept out the child, leaving her in her village where she was poor but not abused, and it might have even kept out the sex traffickers who were here illegally.

    • #19
  20. Profile Photo Member
    @Britanicus

    Fred, I love seeing that perky feline avatar of yours, but I must disagree.

    I reject the premise of your statement; namely, that the girl had a right to cross the border, and that the state is somehow wrong for preventing her from doing so. Our system does allow her to come here. She can apply for citizenship just like millions of others do and have done.

    I don’t blame the poor girl for wanting to come here. I wish she was able to come here legally and safely. I don’t even blame her for crossing illegally–though I truly wish she didn’t.

    To say that state action caused this is just wrong.

    The criminals who lied to, abused, and degraded this poor girl caused this to happen. The failure of Mexico’s government to make their state good enough so that her citizen’s don’t flee, caused this to happen. The people who have a fetish for young girls, caused this to happen. And above all, the sick and fallen nature of man caused this to happen.

    The fact that we don’t have an open borders policy did not.

    • #20
  21. Profile Photo Member
    @Britanicus
    Fred Cole

    billy

    Foxman: Legalize and license prostitution.  Problem solved. · 1 hour ago

    How much would the application fee be for a 13 year old child, excuse me, Dreamer to get her state-issued prostitution license? · 1 minute ago

    People visit prostitutes.  There’s an obvious market for it, that’s why it’s the world’s oldest profession.

    If you have legal prostitution, licensed, clean, regulated, then people seeking those services, most of whom are not criminals by disposition, can snub the pimps who keep 13 year old sex slaves. · 9 minutes ago

    I was hoping that you would say that the state would ensure that 13 year old children would not be kept as sex slaves. Come on, son. If you’re going to legalize it at least have some decent rules.

    There are some things in life that you simply can’t leave to market forces, no?

    • #21
  22. Profile Photo Inactive
    @billy
    Fred Cole: If you had a system for this girl to come to the US in a convenient and legal way, she wouldn’t have had to break the law to get here.  She wouldn’t have had to put her fate in the hands of criminals to get her here.

    Our system didn’t allow that, so she put herself into hands of criminals, and it led to her exploitation.

    State action (immigration restrictionism) caused this to happen.  How is more state action (more border enforcement) somehow the solution? · 8 minutes ago

    Fred, what is the number of immigrants that would be in our best national interest? Currently, there are 43 million, legal and illegal, residing in the U.S.

    So is that about right? Or should it 83 million? A billion?

    The world has a lot of young girls who would love to come here and wait tables, or failing that, apply for a prostitution license.

    • #22
  23. Profile Photo Inactive
    @FredCole
    D.C. McAllister

    Fred Cole: 

    State action (immigration restrictionism) caused this to happen.  How is more state action (more border enforcement) somehow the solution? · 2 minutes ago

    Border enforcement could have helped to prevent it because she wouldn’t have been able to cross the border in the first place. Border enforcement isn’t just another “state action.” It’s a legitimate responsibility of the the government, both state and federal (mainly state).  · 9 minutes ago

    Then we disagree about the problem here.

    I think the problem is a system that is a perpetual failure because it doesn’t meet market demand.  So people seek out alternatives.   (In this case, the market for people who want to come to the US because from Mexico.)

    You think the problem is that that system doesn’t clamp down on alternatives hard enough. 

    • #23
  24. Profile Photo Inactive
    @FredCole
    billy

    Fred, what is the number of immigrants that would be in our best national interest? 

    Define “national interest” and I could begin to answer the question.

    • #24
  25. Profile Photo Inactive
    @FredCole
    Britanicus: 

    I reject the premise of your statement; namely, that the girl had a right to cross the border, and that the state is somehow wrong for preventing her from doing so. 

    Well, I don’t recall including the premise that she has a right to come here in my comments.

    But let’s set aside the right of people to move freely and lets set aside my rights of association as an American citizen to freely associate (transact business, employ this girl to wait tables) that are trampled upon by immigration restrictionism.   And let’s set aside the history of our immigration restrictionism and its source.

    My comments were about the state interfering with markets, specifically the market for immigration.  And specifically about our system.

    If you think this girl need only fill out a form and stand in line, you miss negate the difficulties involved.  I already linked to this, but I suggest everyone take a look.  It’s a useful map of our immigration system (although a friend of mine criticized it for being insufficiently complex).  

    We forced this girl into a black market through our system.

    People are going to come to the United States, we_can_make_it_easy_or_we_can_make_it_hard.

    • #25
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    @Britanicus
    Fred Cole

    Well, I don’t recall including the premise that she has a right to co

    Forgive me for putting words in your mouth. That was just the impression I came away with.

    I agree with most of what you’re saying, but I come away with different conclusions–funny how that works haha. I agree that our immigration system is backwards and could use some work—I was going to mention that in my comment, but I was limited.

    Anyhow, since when do people have the right to move around freely without restriction? Sure, I can do so (within reason) here in my country, but I don’t feel that I have the right to walk into Canada and say “welp, this is my new home!” without having to go through the process (even if it’s a byzantine system). 

    We didn’t force her to come here. And, though I don’t fault her (and others) from wanting to come to our country, that doesn’t mean that we can just accept everyone without reservation.

    • #26
  27. Profile Photo Member
    @WICon

    A couple of questions/points:

    1st – Those involved in this trade (customers, pimps & prostitutes/slaves) would this be an offense worthy of deportation under the proposed Immigration Reform? Marco?

    2nd – These customers, I’m quessing a fair number of them are illegal immigrants and these gangs are knowingly filling a ‘need’ in thier community.

    3rd – When one of these operations is uncovered, how are police even supposed to ascertain who is legal/illegal or how old they are when they aren’t supposed to ask any of these types of questions.

    Build the ‘Dang Fence’ and enforce the laws already.

    • #27
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    @Skyler
    We don’t need open borders, but we need a saner way to allow good people to come here.  We need to end the socialism that gives many of us the pretended moral authority to control others’ lives.  People will come here for jobs, dreams, or for free stuff.  If we end the free stuff, then most people will just come here for the jobs or dreams.  Those are good people.

    When you make it hard for them to come, they will still come, but they will be at risk of being enslaved, literally, by the criminals that they seek out help from.  

    The fences and guards won’t keep people out.  They will still come.  We can’t keep drugs out of prisons, how will we keep people from crossing borders? 

    • #28
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    @MikeH
    Britanicus

    Fred Cole

    Well, I don’t recall including the premise that she has a right to co

    Anyhow, since when do people have the right to move around freely without restriction? Sure, I can do so (within reason) here in my country, but I don’t feel that I have the right to walk into Canada and say “welp, this is my new home!” without having to go through the process (even if it’s a byzantine system). 

    Since when did we have freedom of speech? Since when did we have freedom of association? Since when did we have the freedoms of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness?

    Were they freedoms after the Constitution was written? Were they freedoms after it was conventional understanding that we had them? Or, were they always freedoms?

    • #29
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    @TheDowagerJojo
    Fred Cole

    Then we disagree about the problem here.

    I think the problem is a system that is a perpetual failure because it doesn’t meet market demand.  So people seek out alternatives.   (In this case, the market for people who want to come to the US because from Mexico.)

    You think the problem is that that system doesn’t clamp down on alternatives hard enough.  · 1 hour ago

    There are markets which should not be free, like the one for 13 year old prostitutes.  This girl would not have been safer without immigration restrictions.  She was a 13 year old runaway.

    • #30

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