- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 16, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The human toll of prostitution

The Washington Times editors hit the mark in an editorial on the Eliot Spitzer scandal by acknowledging that “clients (or ‘johns’ in the street vernacular) are often ignored by prosecutors in prostitution cases” (“The Spitzer scandal,” Tuesday).

Imagine a hit-and-run accident where the driver is freed and the passenger imprisoned. Or a tax-evasion scheme where the mob boss gets off while his accountant takes the rap. Such analogies only hint at the degree of injustice in cases where prostituted women solely bear the brunt of penalty for the exploitation of the men who use and abuse them.

Some women and children are literally trafficked into prostitution by force, fraud or coercion; others are virtually trafficked into prostitution by pimps who prey upon vulnerabilities including childhood sexual abuse, addictions and family strife.

Whether virtually or literally trafficked into the trade, prostituted women not only bear the brunt of legal penalties, but they also wear the wounds of physical and emotional trauma. Far from the sickly sweet portrayals of the “Pretty Woman,” victims of sex trafficking have been reported as being forced to have sex with as many as 40 to 50 men per night. Published studies reveal that every sex-trafficking victim suffers some form of sexual abuse and rape, usually resulting in the suffering of post-traumatic stress disorder.

An international study found that nearly one of every four sex-trafficked women and girls tested positive for HIV/AIDS. Girls fare even worse than women; one international study found that three of five girls trafficked for sex before they reached age 15 had contracted HIV. Worldwide, child prostitution alone will account for an estimated 300,000 new HIV infections, 4,752 maternal deaths and 1,224,000 induced abortions.

These statistics put to the lie the deceptive images of “sex workers” who supposedly revel in the glamour of prostitution. It’s time to face the horrific human price of prostitution and hold accountable those who, for the sake of a moment’s pleasure, exact a lifelong toll on women and children.

JONATHAN IMBODY

Vice president for

government relations

Christian Medical Association

Washington office

Ashburn, Va.

Poverty statistics

In the editorial on the 40th anniversary of the Kerner Commission (“Race in America, 40 years out,” Feb. 29), The Washington Times misleadingly states that black poverty “has dropped from 34 percent to 25 percent … .”

More accurately, black poverty decreased 17 percent from 1966 to 1968, decreased by less than 1 percent from 1969 to 1980, increased almost 3 percent from 1981 to 1992, decreased by almost 33 percent from 1993 to 2000 and increased 7 percent from 2001 to 2006.

In other words, the net drop in black poverty since the Kerner Commission is mostly due to the 1966-1968 and 1992-2000 periods when America had tight labor markets and (in the 1990s) tax breaks for workers and the middle class. By contrast, black poverty increased during the 1981 to 1992 and 2001 to 2006 periods of trickle-down supply-side economics and tax breaks to the rich and corporations.

Accordingly, in its 40-year update of the Kerner Commission, the Eisenhower Foundation sets forth a policy that empowers workers and recommits the nation to job training, job retraining and job creation for the truly disadvantaged, the neglected working class and the anxious middle class.

The foundation’s update also documents how overall child poverty (for all races) has increased since 1968 and how the real poverty rate is much higher than the absurdly low official definition. The alternative Self-Sufficiency Standard definition of poverty constructed by professor Diana Pearce at the University of Washington is more accurate.

ALAN CURTIS

President

Eisenhower Foundation

Washington

Abusing ‘Buy American’

Rich Michalski’s letter (“Stolen American jobs,” Wednesday) is aiming at the wrong villain.

Mr. Michalski should be shaking his fist in the direction of The Boeing Corp.’s management, which proved arrogant and pinchpenny. Boeing was trying to sell the U.S. Air Force the same model 767-based tanker they had already sold to Japan and Italy.

When the requirements were redone to more correctly reflect the needs of the service, Boeing could have rebid using the 777 as the base, and probably could have beaten the bid by the consortium that includes Airbus and Northrop Grumman (an American company, by the way).

Instead, Boeing chose not to spend any more money on a competitive proposal, betting that a “Buy American” marketing campaign would outweigh a deficient concept.

The Northrop Grumman KC-45 production will not steal American jobs. Quite the contrary, it will create 48,000 new American jobs. By gaining an EADS commitment to build A-330 commercial airframes in the Alabama plant, it could prove even more lucrative.

Mr. Michalski’s real beef is that the jobs in Alabama will be nonunion. The winning tanker bid reflects the realities of the global marketplace, not protectionism and the political needs of union bosses. And, no, I am not affiliated with either Northrop Grumman, EADS, or any of its subcontractors, nor do I have any connection with the state of Alabama. I am, however, a retired Air Force officer with experience in military procurement.

PAT KELLEY

Vienna

Boeing tanks

Frank Gaffney’s recent article about the purported threat to our national security of awarding a refueling tanker contract to a European consortium is a model of phony altruism (“Plane wreck,” Commentary, Tuesday). I haven’t made an exact count, but I believe the omission of facts in Mr. Gaffney’s article would outnumber factual inclusions by two to one.

Significantly, Mr. Gaffney attempts to accuse one of the European participants of some sort of corruption. Is it not true that several Boeing executives were fined and imprisoned for offering bribes in connection with government contracts?

Also significantly, there is no real discussion of the merits of each design, only a snide allusion to the fact that the Boeing design may be able to land on shorter runways. Down here where the tankers will be built, we have the real story. The European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co. (EADS) design was far superior to Boeing’s in every way.

Now Mr. Gaffney makes a grand case that our security will be threatened by allowing our allies to control some of our military-related manufacturing, such as using our reliance on Japan for some military parts. I may be wrong, but I don’t recall any article from Mr. Gaffney pointing out the much more significant risk to our security brought about by allowing our enemies — namely Iran, Venezuela and Russia, among others — to control the oil and gas supply to our military. Perhaps he might want to give some thought to that before vilifying our friends.

Finally, he seems to have forgotten that Northrop Grumman is a part of the tanker contract. Did I miss something when this company ceased to be American? I don’t think so.

LES ARBO

Daphne, Ala.

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