From time to time, prominent politicians will send The Brody File exclusive op-eds. This time, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has done so.
The subject: combating human trafficking, a topic that resonates among evangelicals. In the op-ed below, Jindal says there should be no second chances for these types of sex predators and they should be giving the harshest punishment.
This is an issue that Gov. Jindal has prioritized down in Louisiana and you can be sure that if he runs for president in 2016, this will be a key part of his public policy initiatives.
Read below. From Governor Bobby Jindal to The Brody File
States and Congress should join together to combat human trafficking, protect victims
“I was taken from my home at 12, lured by a man I thought could be trusted. I was abused, beaten and, at times, forced to have sexual relations with at least 25 men per day – all to ensure I would live another day.”
Clemmie Greenlee, a human trafficking victim, told this story at a press conference in the Louisiana state Capitol earlier this year. Her testimony provides a vivid firsthand description of the horrors of human trafficking – an underground epidemic happening right under our very noses. Americans of all political beliefs should recoil at human traffickers’ degrading attempts to undermine the dignity of millions of women and girls.
Traffickers target the most vulnerable in our society – frequently victims of abuse or domestic violence. These victims are lured in by controlling predators, who promise them a chance at a better life – a job, an education, or even simply a loving relationship in place of the family they don’t have.
These criminals use physical abuse, threats, lies, manipulation, and false promises – degrading their victims as human beings, and treating them as pieces of property. Millions of women living in this slavery will go to sleep tonight praying for a way out.
Traffickers prey on the vulnerable at much larger rates than most people realize. In fact, according to UNICEF, human trafficking ranks as the second largest criminal industry in the world today – a $32 billion industry as of 2013.
While the terms “human trafficking” and “sex slavery” may make Americans think of situations in faraway places, these horrific behaviors comprise an underground industry operating on our shores.
Criminals who engage in human trafficking deserve the harshest punishment that we can possibly give them. They should be afforded no second chances, and should be given zero opportunity to ever harm anyone again. That’s why we worked to strengthen penalties for this horrific crime in Louisiana—one of my top priorities this legislative session.
We’ve been working closely with the Legislature on ways to combat human trafficking. I look forward to signing a bill into law that will create harsher punishments to crack down on human trafficking. It will expand the crime of purchasing sexual activity to include receiving, isolating and enticing another person in order to engage in sexual services or labor. It will also require a person who commits this crime with a minor to register as a sex offender so that we can help ensure these criminals are incapable of committing these heinous crimes again.
I also look forward to signing legislation authorizing Louisiana district courts to designate a specific section for human trafficking courts. This measure will help judges better identify victims of human trafficking, who often go unnoticed or get mistakenly labeled as prostitutes.
I commend Congress for joining us by fighting human trafficking from DC. This week, six pieces of legislation passed out of the House that will help put an end to this terrible industry. These include H.R. 3530, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act sponsored by Rep. Ted Poe, H.R. 3610, the Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act sponsored by Rep. Erik Paulsen, H.R. 4058, the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Improving Opportunities for Youth in Foster Care Act sponsored by Rep. Dave Reichert, H.R. 4573, the International Megan’s Law to Prevent Demand for Child Sex Trafficking sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith, H.R. 4225, the Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation (SAVE) Act sponsored by Rep. Ann Wagner, as well as H.Res. 573, which condemns the abduction of female students by Boko Haram, the terrorist group in northeastern provinces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
We must stop this immoral slavery—in Louisiana, in America, and everywhere. But the war against human trafficking requires all of us to come together to increase penalties against offenders and better protect victims. Congress should continue its work to crack down on human trafficking, so that we can continue the fight for those victims who cannot speak for themselves. Clemmie Greenlee showed courage by speaking publicly about her experiences—and we should stand with her by redoubling our efforts to eradicate this scourge once and for all.