The U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill Oct. 6 providing $95 million to fight international sex trafficking and raising penalties for those found guilty — joining religious groups in fighting prostitution. The bill also reauthorized a bill providing $3.3 billion to prosecute traffickers and impose possible life sentences on people convicted within the United States.
Approved by the Senate Oct. 11, the bill provides the possibility of sanctions against countries that engage in trafficking and provides grants to shelters and rehabilitation programs.
"This legislation supports the church's view that victims have less power and resources than offenders," said E. Larraine Frampton, an ELCA pastor from the Division for Ministry's program for the prevention of clergy sexual misconduct. "Too often victims have been mislabeled 'promiscuous children' or 'loose women.' Mislabeling clouds the fact that the age of exploited U.S. children is dropping from 14 to 12 years of age and that 90 percent of them have been coerced into prostitution.
"Our children and adults are vulnerable to offenders who run sex trafficking rings. We need the church's support in clearly understanding the abuse of power and in stopping the exploitation."
© 2013 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers