The war on human trafficking

The Feds, Ohio and other states have doubled down on addressing human trafficking, a longtime but growing scourge that mostly affects vulnerable children and women.  Law enforcement and the courts have declared a virtual war on human traffickers, but are they serious?

More than a half century ago President Lyndon Johnson “declared unconditional war on poverty in America.”  Fifty years and $22 trillion dollars later the war on poverty has failed miserably.(2)  Not only is a significant percentage of the population less self-sufficient than when the war on poverty began, billions of anti-poverty dollars do not get to those who need it the most.  Welfare fraud and waste dominate, not to mention the political class has lobbied for and won a whole new set of laws to protect their personal assets from deployment against the war on poverty.

Although the war on drugs in one form or another has raged for more than a century, Richard Nixon made it official in 1971 by declaring drug abuse “public enemy number one.”  The Drug Policy Alliance estimates the United States spends $51 billion annually on the War on Drugs.  Building and maintaining prisons is a growth industry in the U.S.  We have less than 5 percent of the world’s population, but the U.S. has around 25% of the world’s prison population.(5)  According to The Sentencing Project, over 70% are non-violent offenders with no history of violent crime and about one-third are first time, non-violent drug offenders.(3)

So why have the wars on poverty and drugs failed, and why is the war on human trafficking destined to fail as well unless we make drastic changes to our criminal justice system?  The simple answer to that question is law enforcement and the courts have done nothing to decrease the demand for poverty, drugs and the unspeakable crime of human trafficking.  In fact, there’s a compelling argument that the political class and the criminal justice system they operate actually enable accelerating poverty, drug use and human trafficking.  The same political class that bailed out the financier class during last decade’s financial collapse now allows those same bankers to pay zero interest on citizen class money, and then lend that money out at 5 percent or higher.  Investors, including bankers should be rewarded for taking risks, not for paying big bucks to lobbyists who climb in politicians’ pockets and then write the laws.  Sure, once in a while they nail a Bernie Madoff, but not until he bilked investors for over $20 billion over nearly a decade.

There is so much money in the illegal drug trade that dealers reportedly pay up to $3000 a day for protection against other dealers and law enforcement.  With that kind of money in the illegal drug trade there should be little doubt that law enforcement and the judiciary are on the take to one degree or another.  In 2012 HSBC Bank was fined $1.9 billion by the U.S justice department for laundering nearly a trillion dollars for the Colombian and Mexican drug cartels, but not one HSBC executive spent even one day in prison.  According to journalist Matt Taibbi at least one inmate in Riker’s Island prison did 47 days for possession of less than one ounce of marijuana.(4)

In 1995, Ohio Republican insider Monte Zinn received a felony conviction for enabling the illegal immigration of 17 teenage boys from Fiji.  After allegations of human trafficking were tossed aside, Zinn’s plea bargain included two years’ probation and a $1500 fine, but no jail time.  In 2013 Zinn’s home and business were raided by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification. (1)  The records of that investigation have been sealed for nearly two years.

The evidence of a two-tiered justice system continues to pile up.  There’s one set of law’s for the political class and another for the rest of us.  Until that changes and the real criminals are held accountable, poverty, illegal drugs and human trafficking will continue to grow and facilitate wealth redistribution from the citizen class to the elitists that own and operate our local, state and federal governments. 

Sources:

  1. Tiffany Latta, Investigation prompts youth group to move, Springfield News Sun, April 4, 2013.
  2. Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield, “The War on Poverty After 50 Years,” The Heritage Foundation, September 15, 2014.
  3. The Sentencing Project, 514 10th Street NW, Suite 100, Washington, DC 20004
  4. Alex Kaufmann, Matt Taibbi: U.S. should be ashamed it treats pot smokers worse than Wall St. criminals, Huffington Post, April 8, 2014.
  5. Roy Welmsley, International Centre for Prison Studies, School of Law, Kings College London, 8th edition, 2009.

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