Read Kristof’s NYT Column Today If You Haven’t

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Here. Below is an excerpt:

…So bravo to the president for giving a major speech on human trafficking and, crucially, for promising greater resources to fight pimps and support those who escape the streets. Until recently, the Obama White House hasn’t shown strong leadership on human trafficking, but this could be a breakthrough. The test will be whether Obama continues to press the issue.

I’ve been passionate about human trafficking ever since I encountered a village in Cambodia 15 years ago where young girls were locked up, terrified, as their virginity was sold to the highest bidder. It felt just like 19th-century slavery, except that these girls would likely be dead of AIDS or something else by their 20s.

Granted, not all prostitution is coerced. Reasonable people can disagree about what to do in the case of adults who sell sex voluntarily. Put aside that disagreement, for we can agree to place priority on the millions of children and adults compelled to provide sex or other labor. …

Some portion of the people who claim to sell sex voluntarily are actually lying pimps who will not be “put aside” easily. It’s good to see Obama addressing the issue, though, and Kristof has been a voice of relative sanity on this issue for years (though I must note that what he wrote in this column about China was utterly and dangerously wrong.)

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