Obama’s Insincere War Against the ‘Slavery’ of Human Trafficking

Yesterday, President Obama gave one of his most insincere speeches to date, and about one of the most vicious and grotesques realities of our time: human trafficking. He stood before those gathered at the Clinton Global Initiative,  a coalition of civil society groups in New York, and decried the horrors of human trafficking.

Calling it a modern day ‘slavery’ and calling on nations to do all they can to fight against it, Obama remarked,

“It’s a debasement of our common humanity. I’m talking about the injustice, the outrage, of human trafficking, which must be called by its true name — modern slavery.”

While I don’t think his feelings on this issue are insincere, I do believe his fight against it is quite insincere.

The reason for my doubt stems from the fact that back in October of 2011 the Obama administration, specifically the Department of Health and Human Services, denied federal grants to certain agencies dedicated to helping trafficking victims. Specifically, the USCCB Migration and Relief Services Agency. It had received grants for five years and helped over 2700 people involved in trafficking during that time. Then, in 2011 the grant was denied, with little explanation.

At the time, Sister Mary Ann Walsh at the USCCB said that she hoped that the Church’s “…position against abortion, sterilization and artificial contraception has not entered into this decision” by the HHS refugee office to reject MRS’ application for a new grant, “especially since this administration has said it stands fully behind freedom of conscience.” It seemed a possibility, but there was no way to link the decision with any sort of affront to religious liberty, no way to know it was really about abortion.

That is, until two months later when the Department of Health and Human Services levied its contraceptive mandate, attaching it to Obamacare. In retrospect, Sister Walsh’s question seems hauntingly prophetic.

Therein lies Obama’s insincerity. If he really wanted to confront this issue, he would have continued to help fund an agency that helped thousands before abortion and reproductive “issues” came into play. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that abortion seems to be a major factor, if not the factor, for the agencies grant denial and will let the record speak for itself:

[Sister Walsh] noted that the MRS’s anti-trafficking program “ran quite well without these [abortion, sterilization, and contraceptive]  services” and said it would be “tragic if abortion politics harmed the men, women and children already at risk because of the crime and scandal of human trafficking.”

MRS officials had no immediate comment.

Jesse Moore, spokesman for Health and Human Services, simply told CNS in an Oct. 12 email that the “grantees were awarded funding through a competitive grant process to provide comprehensive case management services for human trafficking victims through the National Human Trafficking Victim Assistance Program.”

He added that the “competitive grant process is used across the government and allows federal agencies to consider a broad range of potential applicants and select those that can deliver services most effectively and efficiently.”

In 2009, the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for not making the U.S. Catholic bishops’ agency include referrals for abortion, sterilization and artificial contraception in its anti-trafficking program. That case is still pending.

So, while President Obama cries to the world to stop human trafficking, he does so with the caveat that the fight include in it access to abortion, sterilization, and contraception.

For those of you keeping score at home, saying, “But he only wants abortion in the rarest of cases…” I am calling your bluff. The effects of the HHS Mandate are widespread. It is a calculated strategy. The Democrats and President Obama want abortion commonplace and on-demand. After all, they did remove the word “rare” from the long-held position of making “abortion safe, legal and rare“.

So, while applaud the fact that someone at such a high level is speaking about human trafficking, I am outraged at the truth behind his words. The insincerity is heartbreaking, especially because it places so many more people are  at risk, and all because the administration is playing politics over the greatest human rights cause of our time – abortion.

Worst of all, the dirty secret in all of this is that the human trafficking world is more expansive because of easy access to abortion, sterilization, and contraception. But no one wants to talk about that. That is just too much to think about.

No one ever said that the Culture of Death is a pretty place.


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  • Tom

    More distortion. More rank partisanship. He’s decrying human trafficking and all you can do is keep spinning and making junk up. A new low, (GOP) Catholic Vote.

  • Michael

    You clearly must have evidence that the organizations the federal government has contracted with are providing insufficient services to combat human trafficking. Otherwise, your claims smack of crass bias.

  • Anonymous

    Your association linking the White House stance on trafficking to the issue of abortion is not only unfounded but it is unfair. The evidence you cite to support your assertion was a suggestion raised by the grantee, and your own association. In fact, support for this organization was given and later held based on the effectiveness of their anti-trafficking work, completely unrelated to their position on abortion. Did they free slaves or care for victims in an effective way? Did they help “the least of these”? To ascribe grantmaking decisions regarding trafficking work to a completely separate issue – their position on abortion – serves only to advance your own personal concerns at the expense of the work that best serves the needs of trafficking victims. Please be careful.

    Further, you many note that many – if not most – of the organizations
    that have partnered with and/or been supported by the Obama
    administration to address trafficking are faith-based. These
    organizations are chosen based on the impact of their work to free
    slaves and care for victims, without regard to their position on
    reproductive choices. Again, please be careful about the unfounded associations that you perpetuate – the impact may be devastating for people that desperately need help and care.



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