On September 23, President Bush “implored the international community to stand for something other than self-interest and moral relativism,” observed former New York Times correspondent Clifford May. Standing before the United Nations General Assembly, Bush called for unity in fighting terrorism and establishing freedom in the
He talked about the need to rebuild
What was not expected, but came as a great surprise, was the third part of the president’s speech. Civilized nations also share a “challenge to our conscience,” said Bush. “We must act decisively to meet the humanitarian crises of our time.” The president then discussed funding proposals to combat AIDS and famine. And he spent a significant amount of time addressing the problem of sex trafficking.
“Each year, an estimated 800,000 to 900,000 human beings are bought, sold, or forced across the world’s borders,” he said. “Among them are hundreds of thousands of teenage girls, and others as young as five, who fall victim to the sex trade.” And this “business” brings in billions of dollars, much of which finances organized crime. “Governments that tolerate this trade are tolerating a form of slavery,” the president said, and as he remarked to Secretary General Kofi Annan, “the world must combine our resources and our will to stop this abhorrent practice.”
Three years ago, while President Clinton was still in office, I convened a meeting on sex trafficking with then-House Majority Leader Dick Armey of Texas, Bill Bennett, and other Christian and Jewish leaders—prominently including, of course, Michael Horowitz of the Hudson Institute. We vowed to fight this horrendous human rights violation, which until that time had received little attention. The administration then opposed us.
Since then, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act has been signed into law, after the hard work of many. Now, there is an office in the State Department to study and combat sex trafficking. Further, executive agencies administration-wide have committed to work together on this issue. The Justice Department is beginning to aggressively prosecute violations and train international law enforcement. They’ve also created a special visa for women and children who are victims of the sex trade.
This year, the president signed the PROTECT Act which, said Bush, “makes it a crime for any person to enter the
Bush’s speech is the culmination of years of hard work, particularly by concerned citizens like many of you who contacted your legislators and spread the word. Thank you to everyone of you who made phone calls and wrote letters to get these bills passed.
Shamefully—but not surprisingly—the press gave this speech little attention. They were too busy attacking the president on
Contact President Bush and thank him for speaking before the UN General Assembly on September 23 about the problem of sex trafficking and continuing to make abolishing this problem a priority. E-mail email@example.com; mail: The White House,1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington, D.C. 20500; or phone: 202-456-1111.
For further reading and information:
“President Bush Addresses United Nations General Assembly ,” The United Nations, New York, New York, White House Office of the Press Secretary, 23 September 2003.
Clifford May, “ No Excuses ,” National Review Online,
Donna M. Huges, “ ‘A Special Evil’ ,” National Review Online,
Tom Mintier, “ Thailand tackles sexual slavery ,” CNN,
Mike Allen, “ Bush Warns U.N. Assembly about Dangers of Trade in Sex Slaves ,”
Gary Haugen, The Good News about Injustice (InterVarsity, 1999).
Cal Thomas, “ The President and the dis-united nations ,” Townhall.com,