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Perhaps the numbers will grow after enough cops watch her clients' video.
In the underage prostitute/trafficking industry, the Neilsons typify those who are not concerned with facts: They know what's best (or at least what sells).
Former congresswoman Linda Smith—a witness at the Craigslist hearing—not only knows what's best, but has it on the highest authority.
The devout Smith, who served two terms in Congress representing Washington State, is another major player in the sex-trafficking panic, having testified before Congress that the estimate of 100,000 underage sex slaves in the country is "conservative."
Smith is the founder of a group called Shared Hope International, an organization that DNA promotes. She, in turn, promotes Kutcher and Moore.
Smith's worries, however, are not limited to sex trafficking or underage prostitutes.
Instead, she focuses on root cause.
Her organization is committed to "counsel men on the dangers of engaging in the commercial sex markets, especially pornography."
How far would Smith take such a moral crusade?
As a member of the State Senate in Washington, she sponsored a bill that would have made it illegal for underage kids to have sex with each other. The law was also intended to stop oral sex and "heavy petting," and it would have included jail time and a fine for the guilty.
"We need to figure out if we can find a way to make it not OK to buy pornography, not OK to fuel that sex industry, because it's fueling the victimization of the child used in pornography, of the woman in despair used in pornography," Smith says in one of her own YouTube videos.
"Most of my girls that we rescued, all over, have talked about the pictures taken of them during the time. What do you think those pictures are being used for...the ordinary men who are sitting with you on the bus or the plane? It has to be—the demographics are so many. But then I realized the Devil is having our lunch, because they're daddies, they're granddaddies, they're sons... God has given us great gifts, and the Devil is stealing that from us through this."
Shared Hope has depended upon contributions from faith-based foundations and the federal government. In 2003 and 2004, Smith took in nearly $1 million in government grants.
In 2006, her organization received $987,228 to facilitate services for "domestic child-sex-trafficking victims." In fiscal 2005, her group also got $1.9 million from the State Department for an international public-awareness campaign.
In 2000, she helped author the national Trafficking Victims Protection Act. In 2007, Smith authored, with State Department funding, "DEMAND," an examination of commercial sexual exploitation in four countries, including the United States. In 2009, the Justice Department commissioned her to write "The National Report on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking: America's Prostituted Children."
Linda Smith is a cog in a very expensive machine.
To put it in context, consider that from 2001 (the year of the University of Pennsylvania study) through 2004, Congress appropriated $280 million to fight sex trafficking overseas.
In 2005 and 2006, the federal government spent $50 million primarily to fund law enforcement task forces involving U.S. Attorneys, local police, FBI and Department of Homeland Security agents, and various nonprofits. The task forces were created to put an end to sex and labor trafficking in America. Today, there are more than 40 such task forces, from Boston to Anchorage, each typically funded with $450,000 for three-year terms.
In 2010, Congress disbursed over $21 million to nearly 100 groups—including municipalities and local law enforcement agencies—that are fighting sex and labor trafficking.
You never hear in the media from the majority of these folks. But others have clear religious or prohibitionist agendas: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops ($4 million), World Relief Corporation of National Association of Evangelicals ($60,000), Polaris Project ($800,000), the Church United for Community Development ($150,000), and Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking ($250,000).
The Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task forces, also composed of local and federal law enforcement agencies, have investigated child pornography and prostitution cases since 1998. Generally, the units receive tens of millions of dollars annually. As part of the government stimulus package, Uncle Sam handed out $75 million to ICAC groups in 2009.
In the past eight years, Congress has spent $200 million on child pornography in America and another $180 million on all domestic trafficking involving sex or labor.
Ask the feds how many child-sex-trafficking cases they have prosecuted in all this time, however, and you're hard-pressed to evaluate how far your tax dollars are going. The Department of Justice says it has no way of tabulating how many prosecutions end up in front of a judge.
As astonishing as that seems, the details are worse.
The latest report covers January 2008 to June 2010. Of the 45 Justice Department task forces in operation at that time, 42 reported at least one incident. But an "incident" is merely an allegation or suspicion that was investigated for at least one hour. And nothing more.
Of the 45 teams of DOJ lawyers, Homeland Security and FBI agents, and local law enforcement, only 18 of the task forces kept accurate paperwork.
Those 18 teams confirmed they'd identified 248 children involved in sex trafficking over the 30-month period.
In other words, with the full authority of federal law enforcement, 18 joint task forces were lucky to average eight kids a month—or 100 per year.