Thursday, June 01, 2006

David Hartsuch on the ramifications of human trafficking

A few months ago, I posted on the human trafficking legislation making its way through the Iowa Senate. A quick recap: human trafficking is modern day slavery, most often associated with foreigners smuggled into the US for purposes of sexual and physical exploitation.

At that time, it looked like Senator Gronstal & Company might kill the human trafficking bill with a couple lousy amendments. That didn’t happen, it passed the Senate unanimously and moved to the House where it was amended, favorably, and passed unanimously (SF 2219).

Enough said. Right? But an election looms and challengers start stomping around for some attention.

Senator Maggie Tinsman was the primary sponsor of the human trafficking legislation and she has a primary opponent, David Hartsuch a doc from Moline. (What is it with these Iowa wannabe pols from Illinois? And does it really matter that retiring Illinois Congressman Lane Evans endorsed Mike Blouin?)

Hartsuch is an Iowa Christian Alliance type of candidate, lots of his own money and comfortable running a single-issue campaign. He’s anti-abortion. I’m okay with that, I admire men that can solidly stand behind an issue that will never directly affect their bodies. Nevertheless, being pro-life, particularly in the vein of the Feminists for Life, is a good place to be.

Anyway, Hartsuch has a problem: in a QC Times article by Ed Tibbetts (link is not available) he proclaims himself to be more than a single-issue candidate and proceeds to tick off a list of issues that he would have voted against. He even attempts a tough on illegals stand; Hartsuch said he would have voted against the human trafficking bill.

Yep. David Hartsuch believes that Iowa’s human trafficking law will allow illegal immigrants to claim to be victims of human trafficking for purposes of receiving state aid. He thinks we should just give these exploited and abused women & children one-way tickets. Sadly, it indicates how little Hartsuch understands the issues.

The U.S. Department of State is urging legislatures across the country to pass state level human trafficking laws to help put an end to things like this:

So this is the story of Rosa, who was trafficked from Mexico to the United States. She was 13 and waiting tables in a restaurant in a small village near Vera Cruz, Mexico when she was approached by an acquaintance of the family who told her, "You know you can make ten times more money in the U.S. doing what you’re doing here. …

… A big, burly looking man came out and told them, "I’ve just purchased you. Now you work for me." A little later an older woman took them to one of the trailers. She told Rosa that she was in a brothel and that she would have to buy her freedom by sexually servicing men.

Rosa was young. She was a virgin. She was Catholic. She knew what the woman was telling her was bad—a sin. She began to cry and begged to be taken to a restaurant to work. But she was told, "There are no restaurant jobs—only this." When she refused to do what they said, the burly man brought out three other men who took her into one of the trailers and gang-raped her to induct her into the "business." Then they locked her in the trailer without food and water until she succumbed.

For the next six months she was a prisoner. She was forced to service 10 or more men a day. On the weekends it was as many as 20-30 men. The men bought a ticket, which was a condom, for $20. But they often didn’t use it.

Twice Rosa was impregnated and twice forced to have an abortion. And twice forced back into the brothel the next day. …

Oh, and the Iowa Catholic Conference made passing human trafficking legislation a top priority in this past legislative session.

David Hartsuch is anti-abortion, yet he would kill a bill that works to end human slavery, sexual abuse and abortions. Is David Hartsuch a compassionate conservative?

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