The History Of A Global Slush Fund

REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke/Files

Christine Dolan Investigative Journalist
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This article is the second of a four-part series. Read the first part here.

On July 10, 2017, U.S. State Department letters were sent to ten of the 11 entities that applied to the State Department’s Request for Proposals for the End Modern Slavery Initiative (EMSI). They were informed their proposals were rejected. According to the letters, one entity was chosen. The Trump administration’s decision to announce this publicly will be very telling. As this goes to print, Congress has not received official congressional notification. In the meantime, the EMSI history is instructive.

In 2009, the U.N. called for a Global Fund to fight human trafficking. In 2012, President Obama called for the creation of a Global Fund to fight human trafficking at the Clinton Global Initiative.

At the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative, Bill Clinton and some donors announced the Freedom Fund with a goal to raise $100 million to fight human trafficking. Three donors pledged $10 million each and claimed their goal was to eradicate slavery by 2020. Two of them funded two of the End Modern Slavery Initiative architects.

Then, in 2015, U.S. Senator Bob Corker tried to pass a U.S. Senate bill for a Global Fund to End Modern Slavery of at least $1.5 billion claiming his model would reduce human trafficking by 50% although his research is massively inconclusive and faulty.

In 2016, Corker again tried to get his EMSI bill passed, and again, he failed. But, with great bravado, Corker now claims the EMSI became law.  Corker’s tale is extraordinary as he publicly brags about his close relationship with Ivanka. Their collusion on this matter places President Trump in what would normally be a precarious situation of inexperience and undue nepotism influence. Now, he is in a position where he violates his own campaign pledge to Drain the Swamp, while now simultaneously Expanding the Swamp.

When nepotism produces the art of a deal that nukes the art of good governance it becomes a national concern. The country did not elect Ivanka. No doubt she may be talented, but she is not experienced in the human trafficking arena although the President’s friend, Paula White, claims she studied it for two years. The expansion of two for one under the Clinton administration should not be expanded now to the Trump children. The Office of the Presidency should not be treated as a family business.

Where governing decisions put human trafficking victims globally at risk because of a global fund, this is a serious global concern. It is time for President Trump to lay down his tweets, and pay more attention to his art of governance. Those who have the responsibility of sitting in the Oval Office will only be judged on how well they govern – not how well they master and bore the world with tweets.

Sacrificing good governance for tweeting demonstrates a lack of depth and abdication of presidential authority.  President Trump diminishes himself when his tweets are more important than policy. This is not partisan criticism. Secretary Clinton diminished herself and her office as she encouraged the U.S. Ambassador to Russia to engage in a social media challenge with his Russian counterpart. That was an act of dumbing down diplomacy. We need more global leadership with class, empathy and curiosity to conquer the serious issues like human trafficking.

According to Senator Corker, he met with trafficked survivors in Asia a few years ago in a meeting “organized by IJM,” the International Justice Mission that Gary Haugen runs. Later, Corker and Haugen collaborated intensely with at least three other architects –Ernie Allen, David Abramowitz of Humanity United, and Jean Baderschneider, who used to work at Exxon Mobile – to draft Corker’s End Modern Slavery Initiative bill (S.533).  IJM organized and unleashed a bevy of believers to lobby Capitol Hill for the bill.

Senator Corker introduced the legislation in 2015 through his own committee, but did not send it to the floor for a vote. In 2016, Corker again attempted to move the bill, but opposition by pro-life advocates stopped him from doing so. For over a year, opposing voices tried to meet with Corker on several occasions. Corker’s office refused. Recently, some of these same voices tried to meet with Ivanka. They reached out to Paula White. That meeting never happened.

Pro-choice advocates outside of the anti-trafficking arena ask why abortion is even a question when trafficked victims are rape victims.  Outside of the anti-trafficking community, many do not fully comprehend how traffickers use abortion as a criminal tool just like pedophiles use pornography as a criminal tool to groom children. This is called normalizing dehumanization. Traffickers force girls and women into abortions to recycle them into the sex trade. To not acknowledge these commodified criminal tools is to defy forensic evidence proffered by victims, seasoned law enforcement officials, and intelligence operatives.

Tanya Street, a human trafficking survivor, President and Founder of Identifiable Me www.identifiableme.org wants Senator Corker and the Trump White House to grasp, “Traffickers use abortion as a criminal tool to coerce victims into a situation that becomes a choice where the mother is facing life or death for herself.  If she does not abort, then the consequences are grave and detrimental to her life. Once again, she is forced to do something she otherwise may not choose for herself and ultimately does not have an option. Therefore, the only choice the mother is facing is the life of herself or the unborn child.”

In a 2014 study, Laura J. Lederer, President of Global Centurion, found, “71.2% of human trafficking survivors said they were pregnant at least once while they were being trafficked and 21.2% reported five or more pregnancies. Of those pregnant, 55.2% had at least one abortion, and 29.9% had multiple abortions. More than half of those who had abortions said they were forced by their traffickers.”

One can only imagine Corker’s frustration as the opposition to his global fund raises their voices even louder now. Clearly, Corker and his architects thought the so-called passage of his legislation was a foregone conclusion.  After all, Senator Corker and his architects were so confident of EMSI’s passage that a D.C. corporation was established in 2015 named the End Modern Slavery Initiative Foundation.

Today, over 100 anti-trafficking groups in the U.S. alone publicly challenge the establishment of this fund.  In the past months, small U.S. and foreign NGOs too afraid to publicly criticize the cabal behind this endeavor for fear of being defamed or locked out of future funds are voicing their concerns.

After the 2016 election, Corker and his supporters moved fast. Because Corker failed to get a floor vote twice, he went to Senator John McCain who agreed to allow language to be inserted into the “must pass” National Defense Authorization Act that McCain controlled, as Chairman of the Senate Arms Services Committee, in December 2016. They inserted language calling for $150 million over 5 years to establish fundraising for transformational programs.  President Obama signed it. While Congress clearly appropriated money, they just as clearly rejected Corker’s Bill establishing a global fund.

This whack-a-mole approach taken by Senator Corker to find a way to make people believe that his idea of a Fund is now law comes down to this—Senator Corker knows that what is really important in getting other countries, corporations, and the wealthy to give is that the Fund be known as a U.S. creation. Corker and his supporters continue to wage an intense effort to push this EMSI Fund regardless of opposition by victim centered anti-human trafficking groups. Their willingness to mischaracterize the legislative process in this continued effort to create the EMSI Fund regardless of the legislative language is breathtaking.

While the anti-trafficking community should now be celebrating the Fund’s legislative defeat, along comes the rumor that President Trump may appoint Senator McCain’s wife, Cindy, as a U.S. Ambassador-at-Large, where her duties may include overseeing the Office for Monitoring Trafficking in Persons—the State Department’s human trafficking office.

Senator Corker and the four primary Global Fund architects’ continued claims that the language included in Senator McCain’s bill authorizes this fund may find a willing ear if Ms. McCain is appointed. Only time will tell as this saga continues though. Challengers also call it a welfare bill for the largest U.S. anti-trafficking groups.

This Fund will grow to be a control mechanism in the anti-trafficking arena and use its position and money to move governments, businesses, and organizations to do its will. It will also continue to proffer false narratives and acknowledged faulty and incomplete data – hardly a sane strategy to achieve the stated goal.

In a response to State Department’s Trafficking in Persons office in early 2017, even Winrock International wrote, “One of the greatest challenges in counteracting TIP [trafficking in persons] is a lack of clear information and data, making it difficult to effectively address the issue at its source. Inconsistent definitions of TIP and insufficient victim identification guidelines result in a systemic failure to accurately identify and appropriately support trafficking victims globally.” Yet, the cabal’s goal is to raise at least $1.5 billion before the data is corrected. This is not based upon critical thinking.

The creation of any global entity that is not anchored to a country able and willing to maintain close oversight is fraught with danger, especially a fund of this magnitude. One only has to point to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (ATM) that the EMSI architects and Senator Corker use as an example of how they envision this fund to end slavery.

To even compare this fund to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria demonstrates reckless imagination.  As stated by someone who knows the internal machinations of the ATM Fund first hand, “The waste, fraud and abuse totaled anywhere from 33% to 66% depending upon the country. The Fund openly discussed how a degree of corruption was expected and accepted. Those degrees of acceptance were typically discussed running between 10 – 20%, but in fact the real rates ran three times that.” Perhaps the architects are banking that the public is ignorant of the facts and hence, ignorant of the comparison value.

If this type of execution is acceptable to President Trump, his Swamp is Overflowing. This model is an indefensible, unacceptable and intolerable breach of public trust. The perils are too high to deny, deflect, and ignore these matters. Global fund histories are well known, and will become even better known now that this comparison has been made.

Once Corker’s EMSI Fund is freed from an annual appropriation, the Fund’s board may decide to promulgate false data as fact to advance a policy or political agenda instead. That already happens in the anti-trafficking community. As an independent private organization, a transparency level with only minimal disclosure requirements may be incorporated. Thus, if the fund wishes, a pay for play Board, which the architects already admit, could end up providing cover to governments, businesses, and individuals gladly paying the Fund to “buy” cover for ostensibly taking steps to end human trafficking, and simply treat the Fund payment as a cost of doing business.

In addition, such a Fund could appear as “independent” with an outsized impact on reducing global anti-trafficking numbers, including even within the United States. That so-called “independence” will be marketed as “free from undue or improper influence,” when actually the opposite will be true. Moreover, as with all other organizations, it will be controlled by whoever pays the most, rather than individuals with the sound policy perspectives and expertise.

Supporters of the EMSI Fund ignore the fact that it has no legal obligation to remain transparent when it uses money from foreign governments, corporations, or private individuals. As a private fund it will be independent of oversight by any government or entity unless it chooses to place itself under their oversight—a decision it can cancel at any time in the future.

Moreover, this EMSI Fund opens the door to advancing even greater Global Governance of businesses by using the tried and true strategy of creating a certification program for supply chains and labor practices that must do things the “Fund Way” or risk attacks and damage to their brand. The moderating hand of the United States and other governments that must remain at least somewhat responsive to their citizens will not exist in the case of a global fund. We only have to re-examine the hundreds of millions from foreign governments that donated to the Clinton Foundation.

Once again we see the work of Globalists and Clinton supporters at work to co-opt this issue. At the 2012 Clinton Global Initiative, President Obama called for business certifications, “Promote these standards and certifications to the business community and the general public so that robust anti-trafficking compliance becomes just as important as adherence to anti-corruption rules or environmental standards.”

That is a naïve approach. Every country in the world has laws on its books against slavery although scholars correctly so question the government of Mauritania’s illogical stance of claiming they outlawed slavery while claiming its very non-existence. The hurdle facing the world is enforcement. Corruption is embedded in the human trafficking arena.

What companies will come in for scrutiny first if a certification program is created? Those who are major donors to the fund? Republican led businesses? Businesses that are targets of other social justice advocates but need the large hammer that “modern day slavery” provides? That too is already happening. A certificate will not diminish human trafficking. This fight should be treated far more seriously than a marketing campaign.

At a White House meeting in May 2017, Gary Haugen, a primary mover of the ESMI Fund, claimed the ESMI Fund would push for more prosecutions, excellent victims’ programs and more engagement with business leaders. This is a myopic vision.

If more prosecutions, why give monies to non-government organizations? If a child goes missing, no one sane would call a charity to recover a child. They would call the intelligence operatives, the mafia or law enforcement depending upon their rolodex. The recent U.S. Operation Broken Heart  is a successful internet pedo-criminality (child porn) bust where many law enforcement teams collaborated.

Why promote decriminalization or legalization of prostitution? That model does not even work in Germany to reduce trafficking. Why remove any connection between victim’s funds and cooperation with law enforcement—something the soon to be introduced Senate and House versions of the Trafficking Victims Protection Re-authorization Act (TVPRA) both contain. Other countries, like Australia, are demanding co-operation in their national policy.

How will prosecutions be advanced if there is no reason for a victim to cooperate with law enforcement? Law enforcement should be funded to the hilt. Even in the U.S., rural law enforcement officials are not always connected to the wide urban law enforcement networks. Overseas, law enforcement needs more support. Paul Holmes, one of the leading human trafficking law enforcement authorities in the world, has stated for decades that co-operation and protection of witnesses is tantamount to the success of prosecutions. As important as simultaneous financial and criminal investigations.

As for excellent victims’ programs – most of the global victims’ programs do not have sustainable exit plans. Rescues are meaningless unless those rescued can survive and get themselves out of the very fertile grounds that put them at risk in the first place. Far too often victims are recycled back into these traumatic experiences. In the U.S., the so-called experts do not even link the pandemic numbers of child abuse victims to the nearly two million homeless children, those in prisons who are child rape victims, and later trafficked victims, and those who suffer from mental health issues for decades afterwards. They do not even link the opiate addiction in the U.S. to survival sex and human trafficking, or the gangs to trafficking. These are the reasons why human trafficking is transcriminal.  The models are as mercurial as the traffickers.

As for engagement with the business community, Haugen et al either want their money or want to regulate them. Just as they have ignored small and midsize anti-trafficking organizations or any organization not willing to support them, they are not fully engaging major businesses or smaller business organizations in sustainable models either. One is forced to wonder if this is because the Fund, should it get started, will view business as an obstacle until they either pay up or promote the Fund. This is not an empowering vision, but not surprising considering the source. I have educated business leaders for over 15 years. They get the notion of zero tolerance. What they do not understand is the inconsistency within the anti-trafficking arena that does not practice it.

According to Corker’s website, which is loaded with inconclusive information, the EMSI Fund originally seeks $250 million from U.S. taxpayers, $500 million from foreign governments, and $750 million in private funding. Corker asserts “Progress will be tracked against baseline data with a goal of achieving a 50 percent reduction in slavery.”

How does that work when Corker et al. use baseline numbers for over 17 years that are all over map, outdated, incorrect, skewed and unfocused on the fertile grounds for human trafficking?

The bottom line is that Senator Corker and a lot of anti-trafficking NGOs are massively uneducated about how human trafficking models operate, or they do not give a damn because their false narratives are more important than the victims. They focus on the downstream instead of the upstream.

When politicians like Corker and the cabal use statistics that are inherently out of sync with reality and continue to repeat them as facts, they ultimately harm the victims. And, they hurt every one inside the anti-trafficking community who demands facts. Prosecutions do not succeed unless the facts and evidence exist. Seasoned Journalists do not like to be played by politicians and NGOs. And, there is a serious barometer with seasoned journalists if a source lies to you. Ben Bradlee built that standard. We embrace it.

Extreme poverty, mass migrations, and war zones – before, during and after – even during reconstruction – are all fertile grounds for human trafficking across the global. Claiming that a Corker-designed fund will reduce 50% of slavery is pure lunacy. Even the numbers on Corker’s website are incorrect. If these architects continue to ignore the facts, there is no way – no matter how much money they dream of raising, allocating or spending – that the numbers will be reduced, and the population of human trafficking victims will not increase. Corker’s model is bankrupt from the start because the collective analysis on which it is based is engulfed in rotten data.

If this Fund takes the same approach as radical environmentalists, the anti-trafficking movement will target large revenue corporations for regulation by requiring them to post their human trafficking supply chain investigation results on public portals whereupon NGOs working with the media ultimately will challenge, name, and shame them if the Fund’s standards are not met.

It is not exaggerated to envision corporate coercion and corporate espionage competition  based upon false allegations. That already exists too. This journalist and broadcast producer investigated false claims of human trafficking that landed in the U.S. State Department annual trafficking report, on CNN, and embraced by the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial,  and even in a film festival documentary. Business leaders should be very wary of this model because it has the potential to bite the innocent.

In the end, Senator Corker seems to hope that his position as Chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee will guarantee that his way will win out in spite of his inability, since 2015, to win a single floor vote for his pet project. It is critically important to advance the fight against human trafficking and the public should scrutinize those in the Trump administration, who are listening to Corker and these architects.

President Trump and Rex Tillerson must state clearly that the EMSI Bill (S.553) failed, and the funds allocated by Congress will not be used to create this EMSI Global Fund monstrosity. Business leaders need to wake up. If not, this is Trumps’ Global Slush Fund – a far cry from President Trump’s campaign pledges. No foreign government, corporation or private donor should give to it, and if they do, they should be fully investigated for their motives. They should give to the little NGOs who actually do the work. Not to a large Global Fund model that has all the markings to rip off the fund with massive administration costs, and a complicity for waste, fraud, abuse, cover, and bribery based upon the ATM model that Corker and these architects want to emulate.

Placing the love of money before the love of one’s fellowman will not win this war.

This movement does not need Hand Outs. It needs Lift Ups from the bottom up – not from the top down.

As Plato wrote, “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”

Donald Trump needs to be more enlightened.