- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Governments and social welfare groups usually refer to prostitutes as sex workers to avoid demeaning them, but the United States feels the switch unwittingly dignifies syndicates involved in the flesh trade.

The State Department’s office combating human trafficking issued a directive Friday to U.S. agencies urging them to avoid using terms “sex worker” or “child sex worker” and even advised governments not to use them.

“Of course, one can rationalize words such as ‘sex worker’ and ‘child sex worker’ in an effort to avoid a demeaning label such as ‘prostitute,’ ” said John Miller, the office’s director. “However, there are other substitutes such as ‘women used in prostitution’ or ‘sexually exploited children’ that are neither pejorative nor pretend that violence to women and children is ‘work,’ ” said Mr. Miller, who retired Friday after campaigning extensively around the globe to stem the human trafficking problem.

During his four years on the job, the lanky former congressman has visited more than 50 countries. About 800,000 adults and children are trafficked internationally each year, most of whom are enslaved in the sex industry, the State Department says.

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