A Job No Woman Would Choose

    In the New York Times this summer, Nicholas Kristof derided President Bush for thwarting passage of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, commonly known as CEDAW. Then, ironically, he vilified Bush for ignoring the international sex trafficking problem. The State Department had given passing grades on sex trafficking to countries that are undeserving. I say "ironically" because CEDAW is a hindrance to ending sexual slavery. This UN treaty demands that signatory nations recognize prostitution as a career choice for women, and this invites sex trafficking on a massive scale. Calling prostitution a "career choice" keeps desperate women enslaved and aids the thugs who run sex trafficking rings. As Michael Horowitz of the Hudson Institute puts it, "The real fight today is between those who believe that prostitution inherently victimizes women and those who believe that the answer is some combination of ergonomic standards for mattresses and minimum wages." You see legalizing prostitution puts the burden of proof on the prostitute in trafficking cases. He or she must prove he or she is being forced into prostitution. Rather than putting the traffickers on trial, it puts victims on trial. Prostitution is already legal in France, and we can see there the impact it has. Parents have to shield their kid's eyes from streetwalkers, and they often wake up finding used condoms outside their doors. But beyond creating social eyesores, legalized prostitution makes the plight of sex trafficking victims worse than ever. As the Washington Post reported, France has between 15,000 and 20,000 prostitutes -- 60 percent of whom are foreign. It is hard to know whether they chose this degrading profession out of desperation, or whether they were lured into it -- part of trafficking -- and are used, basically, as slaves. And now French prostitutes are complaining that foreign prostitutes are taking their business. One legislator suggests deportation. But there's a "high probability [that they] will be trafficked again," remarked Jean-Philippe Chauzy, of the International Organization for Migration. And that's no help at all for the young girls and boys who are being trafficked. Legalizing prostitution only encourages trafficking, as well as the mafia and gangsters who are drawn to it. Nevertheless, people like Sen. Hillary Clinton support not only the CEDAW treaty, but they want to recognize "sex worker" as a viable career option -- even in this country. The Wall Street Journal reported recently that Sen. Clinton called trafficking "modern-day slavery," but at the same time, her position on prostitution would "exempt from prosecution pimps and handlers of women who have 'voluntarily' chosen prostitution." This would recreate the French problems in our own backyard. Does all of this sound absurd? Of course it does. But it's logical. The pro-abortion movement has made a woman's "right" to control her own body sacred. And if it is, then you've got to protect her right to sell her body when she wants to. The State Department says that at least 50,000 women and children are trafficked into the United States each year. "By cleaning up our own act," said the Wall Street Journal, "America in the twenty-first century can do to the global sex trade what William Wilberforce's anti-slavery movement did in the early nineteenth: wipe it out." Right. And that's why CEDAW must be opposed vigorously. For further reading: "Sex and Slavery: Hillary Clinton Backs 'Voluntary' Prostitution," Wall Street Journal, 15 November 2002. Keith B. Richburg, "France May Limit Prostitution," Washington Post, 11 August 2002, A20. Eva Cahen, "French Prostitutes Organize against New Law," CNS News, 18 November 2002. Nicholas Kristof, "Bush vs. Women," New York Times, 16 August 2002 (free registration required). Wendy Wright, "Trafficking of Women and Children" (speech), Concerned Women for America, 12 June 2001. BreakPoint commentary no. 020612, "Traffic Offense: The State Department Whitewash." BreakPoint commentary no. 020903, "The Teeth and Claws of CEDAW: An Animal We Must Not Unleash." Also see BreakPoint's CEDAW fact sheet.


Chuck Colson


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