Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Slave Traffick and America

                                                Obama and Slave Trafficking

  Human trafficking is modern-day slavery, where immigrants are forced into prostitution or slave labor.  Since 2000, with the passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), the Department of Health and Human Services has operated anti-trafficking programs, providing them through nonprofit partner organizations.  From the beginning, faith-based organizations were in the forefront of these efforts, instrumental in developing ATIP (Anti-trafficking in Persons Program) and providing a large percentage of services.  Now changes in HHS grant requirements will exclude some of these very organizations from participating in the programs.

Between 14500 and 17500 victims are trafficked in the U.S. annually, about 1/3 of them children.  Coalition partners identify victims, raise public awareness and provide services such as food, shelter, legal assistance, income assistance, mental health services, English language training, employment assistance and health care. 

According to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, “The Obama Administration is effectively cutting off funding to religious groups unless they are willing to endorse abortion.”  Organizations that serve trafficking victims but who are unwilling to provide abortion referrals or drugs that cause abortions may still apply for a grant, but “strong preference” will be given to those who give abortion referrals.  Current faith-based coalition partners working with HHS include the Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, The Samaritan Woman, Cyrus International, No Silence Now, Covenant House and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).   

Ironically, HHS’s Anti-trafficking in Persons Program acknowledges that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has been a vital partner in the anti-trafficking efforts.  Since 2002 the organization has provided services and advocated for victims.  In 2006, HHS awarded the master contract to USCCB, which created a system for delivery of services throughout the country.  USCCB has developed a network of over 100 partner organizations.

Jonathan Imbody at Freedom2Care notes that “This grant stipulation appears designed to precisely exclude pro-life, faith-based organizations.  Besides violating the conscience rights of faith-based organizations that Congress voted to protect when approving legislation and funding to fight trafficking, this discrimination also stands to eliminate proven effective providers of aid to human trafficking victims such as the Salvation Army and Catholic Relief Services.”

According to Bob Laird of Human Life International, “By blocking faith-based organizations from receiving these grants, the Obama administration opens the door for groups such as Planned Parenthood to provide medical care to victims.”  Ironically, Planned Parenthood has been caught in recent undercover investigations offering to cooperate with traffickers.

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