So Maria allowed herself to be smuggled into the United States—and that's when the nightmare began. "I was transported to Florida, and there one of the bosses told me I would be working at a brothel as a prostitute," she recalls.
Maria was forced to work twelve hours a day, six days a week. As she later testified, if the women refused to service a client, "The bosses would show us a lesson by raping us brutally. If anyone became pregnant, we were forced to abort."
Stories like these are sickeningly familiar—and they are what drove former Congressman John Miller from Washington state to take on the post at the State Department enforcing the Trafficking in Persons Protection Act. "I realized that slavery was still alive," Miller told World magazine.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of women and children from poor countries are taken to cities in Europe, Asia, and the United States and forced into sexual slavery.
This is why we so vigorously supported the passage of the bill that Congress passed two years ago. It requires the State Department to identify the countries with the worst sex trafficking problem and to threaten sanctions if no progress is made in correcting the abuses.
But it soon became clear that the State Department was not making enforcement a priority. State Department country experts fear that coming down hard on trafficking might harm other diplomatic and economic interests. And much of the problem is philosophical: Radical feminists who have had influence at the State Department since the Clinton years want to redefine prostitution as "sex work." They consider prostitution just another empowering career option—like nursing or teaching—part of a woman's "right" to control her own body.
Anti-slavery groups pressured the Bush administration to hire someone to head up the trafficking office who had an "abolitionist" viewpoint. Their efforts paid off when John Miller was appointed.
It is clear Miller has the guts to fight hard on this issue. As a congressman, he did the unthinkable: He fought against giving China Most Favored Nation trade status, notwithstanding the biggest employer in his district—the Boeing Company—that wanted to sell jets to the Chinese.
Michael Horowitz, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, says this is why so many former colleagues—including Dick Cheney, Tom DeLay, Frank Wolf, and Nancy Pelosi—admire Miller.