Who here is in favor of sex trafficking?
Didn’t think so. Me neither. You can be against that crime without using it for political grandstanding and cruel policies. But not, apparently, if you are in the U.S. Congress. In a blistering
After rousing themselves from the 30-plus-year bad trip that was the war on drugs — or rather, the war on drug users — many Americans in and out of elected office looked around for someone else to persecute. Someone, somewhere, must be so depraved and hateful that liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans could join in common cause to vilify them.
They appear to have found their target: sex offenders. The current case in point is a congressional proposal to alert the nations of the world that particular U.S. citizens who have committed sex offenses against minors are planning to visit. Passports would be specially marked so that other countries could turn travelers away at the border because of old crimes for which they have already served their time in the U.S.
Why? Not just because it constitutes a kind of double jeopardy — citizens who did their time will be punished again, by not being allowed to travel. And not just because it singles out one just one group of people. (Murderers and drug dealers will NOT be branded this way.) Veto it because it will not actually do any good! As Beth Schwartzapfel at The Marshall Project reports:
Supporters say the bill will help prevent sex trafficking, since sex offenders “hop on planes and go to places for a week or two and abuse little children,” the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., told NJ.com. Multiple requests for comment made to Smith’s office were not returned.
In a rebuttal printed as an appendix in the report, the State Department noted that there was no evidence anyone on that list had traveled in order to commit a sex crime, and that it already has the authority to deny passports to people convicted of sex tourism involving minors and those whose probation or parole terms forbid them from traveling.
“We think the report is very misleading,” the State Department wrote. “Starting with the title, ‘Passports Issued to Thousands of Registered Sex Offenders,’ we are concerned that it conveys more ‘shock value’ than factual accuracy.”
Pres. Obama, please rise above the sanctimonious vote-grubbers and headline grabbers in Congress and refuse to sign a bill that your own State Department finds pointless and misleading. The bill is supposed to prevent the exploitation of children. Ironically, Congress is busy exploiting away. — L