We Can End the Illegal Sex Trade

Ambassadors Perspectives

Swanee Hunt (Ambassador to Austria, 1993-1997)

Cross-posted from Ambassador Hunt’s May 14, 2015 special to Politico. The article was coauthored by President Jimmy Carter.

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Too often, when we think of sex trafficking in America, we imagine women smuggled here from Asia or Latin America, when in fact we should be picturing everyday girls and women from our own neighborhoods, exploited by pimps and brothel owners in our own cities and towns.

We should think of women like one in Boston, who was abused by her addicted mother’s boyfriend, ran away over and over from foster homes and was recruited when only 13 by her first pimp, who promised to care for her. It took her years to break free.

Fortunately for our society, Washington is waking up. The Senate’s recent unanimous passage of the Joint Victims of Trafficking Act is one expression of this promising turn. Alongside the…

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