One of the many things I do in my day job is serve as a US passport acceptance agent. We're like the front line in observing the people who want to get a passport and reviewing their documents. Before giving them the oath, we have them review a section called "Acts and Conditions." Part of it includes this:
Furthermore, I have not been convicted of a federal or state drug offense or convicted of a "sex tourism" crimes statute,The first time I read that, I was like, "What the heck is that?" We hear that same response from a lot from people who've also never heard of it. I finally looked it up.
the act of travelling to another country for the purpose of paying to have sex, especially with children.Are you sick yet?
That term bothers me. Sex Tourism. It's too mild a term for what it really is: child sexual slavery.
I'd never heard the term sex tourism on the news either, until a few months ago when this story broke:
It's bad enough that children are being bought and sold and raped.
But there's a freaking market for it!! It's one of the fastest growing criminal industries around today. And one of the most lucrative. Billions of dollars.
Those poor babies. *takes a deep breath*
Children are frequently sold into slavery by family members. Once the kids are rescued, they can't be returned home.
Timothy Ballard, founder of Operation Underground Railroad, decided to leave his undercover CIA work because he was distressed about the children being left behind. As government agents, they could only take action where there was an American interest. By going private, they have a broader reach.
He also decided not to do the undercover work himself anymore, so he could talk about. I'm glad it's getting press coverage. I'm grateful there are organizations like OUR to help lead the way. After the sting done in the video above, the Colombian government had the confidence to conduct similar raids on their own.
Had you ever heard of this?