Lawmakers to State Department: Time to Crack the Whip on Trafficking
(Click picture to watch video)
Some members of Congress are pushing the State Department to get tough on countries that allow human trafficking.
They want the agency to start with its own annual trafficking report because they say it often just glosses over policies that encourage trafficking.
Those who fight human trafficking say it's very clear. Countries that allow prostitution create a greater demand for human trafficking.
That's why it's a problem when the State Department's annual report card on trafficking virtually ignores the legal sex trade.
A bi-partisan group of lawmakers wants to change that.
"Our concern is that sometimes it can be pushed away a little bit by the State Department," Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Illinois, the bill's sponsor, said. "When they want to pursue diplomacy with a certain nation they might feel like bringing out the truth with what's going on with human trafficking might hurt diplomacy."
If Congress passes this law it will affect countries like Spain, which right now receives a top rating from the U.S., despite the fact that the purchase of sex there is legal and the government itself estimates that as many as 1 million purchases of sex are made every day.
"It's really troubling," Hultgren said. "A country of 47 million, Spain is, and yet 39 percent of men there say they've purchased sex. It's an unfathomable number."
Hultgren said U.S. influence matters and can encourage countries to improve their record - and if his efforts save even one child he said it's all worth it.