Without doubt the Federal appointee who was most effective dealing with sex-trafficking was former Representative John R. Miller (R-WA). President George W. Bush has sought to end sex slavery within the United States and provide international leadership on the issue. Miller was appointed Director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons for the U.S. State Department and became an Ambassador-at-large on the issue of modern slavery. Miller elevated the fight to a high priority in the Bush Administration.
Recently, Miller wrote an op-ed in The New York Times which suggested that the effort to oppose sex slavery has met opposition in the Department of Justice (DOJ). Miller also made a presentation to a group with which I am involved. Upon hearing Miller's presentation I realized that the situation is worse than he described in The New York Times.
After nurturing the 21st-Century abolitionist movement from 2002 to 2006, Miller believed that President Bush supported him despite objection to his efforts from numerous Ambassadors who did not want their host countries criticized. Miller stated that the President made it clear that his work was important. While he did not win every battle, he prevailed, often thanks to White House support.
One could imagine Miller's surprise when he learned that DOJ initiated a campaign to oppose a new Congressional bill which would strengthen the Federal Government's anti-trafficking efforts. In a 13-page letter, DOJ blasted nearly every aspect of the proposed legislation. In its annual report which rates how well countries are combating sex slavery, DOJ does not want to consider whether governments put traffickers in jail, nor does it want the Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services to streamline their efforts to help the victims of sex-trafficking acquire visas and assistance. DOJ does not want to pool data with the Departments of State, Homeland Security and Health and Human Services on sex-trafficking and to devise prevention strategies.
DOJ opposes the creation of Presidential awards for groups leading the struggle against this modern-day slavery. It is against a citizens' task force to develop a pamphlet for victims. It does not want the State Department to give the telephone numbers of American anti-trafficking organizations to visa applicants at American Consulates worldwide.
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