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The New Abolitionists

John on January 27, 2006 at 12:37 am

Two weeks ago, President Bush reauthorized a law which essentially authorizes the federal government to fight sex slavery. The story went almost completly unreported by the press, as I pointed out here.

Today however, National Review Online has some great coverage of the topic. As I mentioned in that earlier post, one of the people behind the law is a woman named Donna Hughes. NRO has an interview with Donna.

There’s also an excellent interview with Lisa Thomson of the Salvation Army. Lisa is a modern day abolitionist and gives an excellent overview of the history of the oppostion to the sex trade. The interview also yields some amazing statistics:

  • In Japan, where prostitution is not legal, but widely tolerated, the sex industry is estimated to make [the equivalent of $83 billion in U.S. dollars]. There are an estimated 150,000 foreign women in the sex industry. Many of them are known to be trafficked from the Philippines, Thailand, Korea, Russia, and Latin America each year.
  • Prostitution in the Philippines is a de facto legal industry that is now the fourth-largest source of gross national product (GNP) for the country. Estimates vary but the likelihood is that there are nearly half a million persons in prostitution in the country and an estimated 100,000 of them are children. Three hundred thousand sex tourists from Japan alone are believed to visit the Philippines every year.
  • More than 2.3 million girls and women are believed to make up India’s sex industry. The U.N. reports that an estimated 40 percent are below 18 years of age. In 2004, it was reported that transactions in prostitution are worth [the equivalent of $4.1 million in U.S. dollars) a day; [$8.5 billion in U.S. dollars] per year.
  • A 1998 study by the International Labor Organization on the sex industries of four Asian countries, reported that Indonesia’s sex industry was as much as 2.4 percent (US $3.3 billion) of the gross domestic product and as much as 14 percent (US $27 billion) of Thailand’s gross domestic product. The report stated, “The stark reality is that the sex sector is a big business that is well entrenched in the national economies and the international economy,’ with highly organized structures and linkages to other types of legitimate economic activity.”

This is such an important issue, I’m very pleased to see President Bush taking the lead on it. Kudos to K-Lo at NRO for single-handedly giving this the play it deserves.

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