Attorney General Eric Holder’s chosen replacement, Loretta Lynch, has been waiting a long time for the U.S. Senate to confirm her as the next head of the Justice Department. The delay in confirming Lynch has prompted figures like Rev. Al Sharpton and various “female civil rights leaders” to stage a mock hunger strike in order to protest this great injustice. After all, Lynch would be the first female, African-American attorney general in U.S. history, and her nomination is being held up by a GOP-led Senate. You do the math.
But this supposed “hunger strike” served as a perfect metaphor for the dubious premise that Lynch was a victim of some unique discrimination. Its participants told reporters that they would be alternating the days in which they deprived themselves of nutrition, a revelation that should have shamed every news outlet that devoted precious space to this halfhearted publicity stunt.
While these and others were consumed with outrage over Lynch’s supposed victimization at the hands of Republicans in the upper chamber of Congress, few concerned themselves with the plights of the true victims of genuine exploitation.
Lynch’s nomination was stalled as a result of the decision by Senate Democrats to block the passage of an anti-human trafficking bill. The Senate’s majority held up Lynch’s confirmation, as is their prerogative, in order to compel Democrats to vote on the anti-trafficking bill that passed unanimously out of committee. The Senate’s Democrats decided it was in their best interests to oppose that bill only when it came to the attention of Planned Parenthood that language in that measure would block the use of federal funds to pay for abortions.
“[T]his anti-abortion provision would be in effect for five years, while the Hyde Amendment must be reauthorized annually,” The Washington Post editorial board remarked. “But since the Hyde Amendment has been in force for four decades, the practical difference again is slight.”
Reporting on the impasse that has led to Lynch’s stalled nomination is curiously free of moralizing. But that is a curious display of restraint in this case. The issue of human sex trafficking in the United States involving women and children is a serious one.
“With 100,000 children estimated to be in the sex trade in the United States each year, it is clear that the total number of victims nationally reaches into the hundreds of thousands when estimates of both adults and minors and sex trafficking and labor trafficking are aggregated,” a Polaris Project report read. “Victims are frequently lured by false promises of a lucrative job, stability, education, or a loving relationship. In the U.S., victims can be men or women, adults or children, foreign nationals or U.S. citizens. While they share the trait of vulnerability, victims have diverse ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, varied levels of education, and may be documented or undocumented.”
While human trafficking spans all demographics, there are some circumstances or vulnerabilities that lead to a higher susceptibility to victimization and human trafficking. Runaway and homeless youth, victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, war or conflict, or social discrimination are frequently targeted by traffickers. Foreign nationals who have paid large recruitment and travel fees to labor recruiters, often become highly indebted to the recruiters and traffickers. Traffickers control and manipulate these individuals by leveraging the non-portability of many work visas as well as the victims’ lack of familiarity with surroundings, laws and rights, language fluency, and cultural understanding.
Democrats are refusing to pass a bill that directly aids ostensibly Democratic constituencies – the victims of domestic violence, foreign nationals, undocumented immigrants, and children – all in the name of preventing popular restrictions on public funding for abortion. It is as toxic a political stance as you can imagine, which is perhaps why the press is not reporting on it as such.
Described only as an “abortion fight,” The Huffington Post’s Jennifer Bendery reliably framed Lynch as the victim rather than the tens of thousands of children sold into sexual slavery in America.
Outside of the opinion pages, The Washington Post has been equally accommodating to Democrats:
…Democrats have held firm since the abortion dispute exploded March 10, and pressure has only increased on McConnell to move forward with the Lynch nomination.
On Thursday, White House press secretary Josh Earnest noted that Lynch has waited 49 days since gaining approval from the Judiciary Committee for a floor vote — more than twice as long as the previous seven nominees for attorney general combined.
“That is an unconscionable delay, and there’s no excuse or explanation for it,” Earnest said.
In the end, as Ed observed, Senate Democrats caved, accepted a variation on a compromise they had rejected weeks prior, and got just about nothing for their efforts:
That means that the Hyde language is now unnecessary for the bill, since none of the revenue can be used for medical services at all of any kind. Those resources will have to come from appropriations instead, which already carry the Hyde language. It’s the same result through a different mechanism for Republicans, who wanted to make sure that the trafficking bill didn’t get used as a back door for federally funded abortions. Reid and the abortion lobby worked hard to open that path by demanding the removal of the Hyde language from the bill, but in the end they ended up with nothing at all.
Ed believes that Democrats will spin this as a victory, but it is a pyrrhic one. As the press and the public are coming to see the Democratic Party as extremists and out of step with the public on the issue of abortion, this episode has cemented the impression that congressional Democrats see reproductive rights as a political vehicle rather than a cause.
Where is the hunger strike for the underage victims of sex traffickers? The sad fact is that they simply don’t contribute to Democratic campaigns and liberal causes like Planned Parenthood does.