This article is the first part of a two-part series. The second can be found here.
In February 2017, the White House hosted a small gathering of insiders and those representing a larger group of organizations wanting to create a $1.5 Billion Fund to fight human trafficking. While the efforts to create this fund started before 2015, the meeting was put together quickly and hosted by Ivanka, and Dina Powell.
West Wing staff prevented anyone disagreeing with this fund from attending. Thus, President Trump and his administration received skewed advice and incomplete information. This two-hour meeting concluded with an ask: support the End Modern Slavery Initiative Fund (EMSI), a giant slush fund – akin to a venture capitalist fund – to create a Global Fund. However, as currently conceived, this Fund could and most likely will support groups that are pro-abortion, pro-prostitution, and pro-open borders. Unfortunately it’s been a three-month fight to stop the Trojan Horse that is EMSI.
What is EMSI and why is it a Trojan Horse?
EMSI is the brain-child of Senator Bob Corker, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. As originally introduced, the concept is to use taxpayers’ dollars to create a fundraising machine that is more responsive to global positions on slavery, and at odds with the current administration’s policies. The Bill, as originally drafted – before President Trump was elected – never made it into law. It failed twice in the Senate. Instead, a couple of phrases were inserted in the December 2016 National Defense Appropriations Act (DNAA) that provides $175 million in taxpayer funds and directs the State Department to fund “transformative programs. “
EMSI is a Trojan horse because it brings the enemy into the Administration in a beautiful anti-trafficking package on its surface until one examines the Fund carefully and sees the hidden doors through which the attack will come.
Who can argue that more funding and greater political will is needed to end slavery? It is an immediate and critical need, as the ramifications of this continue to be costly in human and fiscal terms. No one has to prove slavery is immoral. For the last 17 years, its existence had to be proven. Now, we have to go after the heads of the snakes and connect the dots that fuel it. What distinguishes slavery today from past eras is the insertion of digital technology! This is the Digital Age of Slavery!
The numbers are increasing instead of decreasing. WHY? Because of skewed data, illogical strategies, hijacking of the issue of human trafficking for political agendas, failed foreign policies that create fertile grounds for human trafficking, and false narratives pushed by NGOs for their own financial survivability. Even omitted from the data is the proliferation of porn and child rape statistics that are essential to the discussion since those traumatized children, if not healed, increase the homelessness, foster care, incarceration, and refugee populations all over the world, which are further fertile grounds for human trafficking. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent, but the only measurable outcome seems to be the proliferation of NGOs and the dollars that have been squandered. The field has become politicized, bureaucratic, and the promise of results a palliative for failure to address the problem in any effective manner.
What’s not to like about a public-private partnership in this case? Plenty. It takes the current incompetency of the players in this arena to new heights with a global slush fund, and, in the process, lays at the feet of the administration a program based on false narratives and ill-conceived figures, which Senator Corker even acknowledged publicly in a recent hearing. What is illogical is that he and other Senators want to fund something that they know is rooted in false data. That is like funding the production of cars without engines!
At this February 2017 meeting, President Trump confidently noted the number of slaves globally as 27 million. President Trump was fed that number. It is not his fault. That number was inaccurate when it was anecdotally concocted years ago by Kevin Bales, then head of Free the Slaves. The NGOs today continue to quote it as though we live in a static world and repetition makes the number real. It is a bogus number. With mass migrations, internet generated trafficking, and sophisticated terrorist networks financially fueled by human trafficking, that number was exponentially higher when concocted, and more so, today.
This new State Department’s request for proposals (RFP) is so poorly drafted that it can be easily manipulated by a grantee committed to opposing Administration’s policies on a wide variety of issues. Indeed, it is hard to imagine what program on trafficking would not meet the definition of “transformative…” even if “transforming” for the worse.
For example, the State Department would permit abortion assistance to be provided to, “ameliorat[e] the suffering of, or health risks to, victims while they are being trafficked or after they are out of the situation that resulted from such victims being trafficked.” The heartbreaking truth of the human trafficking sex trade is that women and girls are repeatedly raped, and get pregnant multiple times. This language creates a loophole that could permit multiple serial abortions to be paid for with U.S. funds. This is a perverse result that benefits pimps and traffickers by returning their “productive assets” to them for further pimping. Rather than stopping trafficking, it offers them this balm so they can get back to work with little to no options to rebuild their lives. That is not transformational by any measurement of success. Needless to state, the current U.S. policies and Executive Orders prevent and prohibit such a result. As written, the State Department RFP does not.
The bottom line is that the State Department, in conjunction with Senator Corker, and the architects of this Global Fund actually are advancing policies incongruent with the administration. In the same way, the State Department’s RFP as currently written could create a giant Fund that supports the aggressive “pro-sex work” stance of many organizations and governments around the world. Can such an oversight be simply a mistake, or was it intentional? Even though the United States has a National Security Presidential Directive (NSPD-22) which clearly states that: “the United States Government opposes prostitution and any related activities … ,” (emphasis added) the RFP would permit an organization that promotes prostitution and any related activities to receive funds as long as they don’t use USG money to promote prostitution and its decriminalization, legalization, and unionization.
This would position a pro-prostitution organization to build its stature and influence by rescuing children from sex trafficking while simultaneously using that influence to promote older child and adult prostitution as a legitimate form of labor – a bizarre stance. The reality is that this is the current norm in many countries including Germany, Australia, the Netherlands, India, and many countries in Central and South America, where prostitution is legal and flourishes as a legitimate business, but a front for human trafficking of even the youngest behind their doors.
It is hard to believe that such a carelessly drafted RFP would be used as the mechanism to award $25 million this year. It raises the question of whether Obama’s hold-over Ambassador, Susan Coppedge, is incompetent, failed to recognize the RFP’s problems, or complicit in trying to create what could and probably will become the next U.N. Population Fund. How ironic that the Trump administration just defunded the UNPF, and a new one is being created by stealth at the U.S. State Department. Regardless of whether there is a nefarious motive behind the RFP there is only one proper outcome for this Horse: Dump it, and rewrite it so that monies meant to end trafficking cannot be used to hurt victims, create incongruity within the U.S. policies, and place the inaccurate data within a Global Slush Fund. As President Trump would say, “This is a dumb RFP.” It is also dangerous. The question is: How should the White House shut out this Trojan Horse and clean the stable from whence it came.
Christine Dolan is an investigative journalist, and the former CNN Political Director. She is an authority on human trafficking globally having covered it for over 17 years. She is the author of Shattered Innocence – The Millennium Holocaust, and In the Name of God, two authoritative investigations on the global phenomenon of human trafficking, and the global Catholic abuse scandals.