Human Trafficking Expert Upset by Planned Parenthood Videos

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 12, 2011   |   5:54PM   |   Washington, DC

An expert on human trafficking is upset by the videos showing officials at various Planned Parenthood centers helping a sex trafficker arrange for abortions for the underage girls he allegedly victimized.

Steven Wagner is the president of Renewal Forum, a nonprofit group combating U.S. human trafficking, and he was the former head of the Human Trafficking Program at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

In an opinion column he wrote in the Washington Times last week, Wagner says the sordid tale is not surprising because a quarter of a million children are subjected to commercial sexual exploitation every year in the United States. He says the response from Planned Parenthood officials to the man acting as a pimp in the undercover investigation is shocking and disturbing.

“Is this pimp sent away by indignant health care providers – or better, are the police called to investigate these evident cases of felony sexual abuse of a minor? Tragically, no,” he writes. “In each instance, clinic staff members readily describe how they can help facilitate the continued exploitation of his victims.”

Although Planned Parenthood fired one employee at one of the several abortion centers where staff were filmed helping the sex traffickers, he bashed the abortion business for having “dismissed the incident as an aberration.”

Wagner says the young women trapped in the sex trade are not legally able to consent for the abortions Planned Parenthood offered.

“Under the federal anti-trafficking law, any juvenile younger than 18 who is subjected to commercial sexual exploitation is a victim of human trafficking – a victim of modern-day slavery. Under our legal system, no child can consent to engage in prostitution,” he said. “Similarly, no children who are trapped in a situation of commercial sexual exploitation can give informed consent to undergo an abortion or receive a regime of contraception because of the trauma and manipulation to which they are subjected routinely and constantly. Yet the health care providers in these videos appear all too eager to sign up juvenile victims for both abortions and contraceptives.”

Wagner believes Planned Parenthood is not only covering up the alleged sex trafficking by adding to the exploitation of the girls victimized by it.

“To subject a juvenile victim of commercial sexual exploitation to either an abortion or contraception has only one purpose: to sustain her exploitation, and only one beneficiary: the trafficker/pimp. This is why the Live Action videos are so revealing and so shocking,” he writes at the Times. “They show health care professionals, employed by a national organization receiving taxpayer funds, who not only do not fulfill their obligation to report to authorities these potential cases of child abuse, but actually are willing to facilitate that abuse.”

“It is hard to imagine conditions more conducive to the widespread sexual exploitation of American children than those in which health care professionals are willfully ignorant of the sex trafficking in front of their eyes. These videos raise this five-alarm question: If we are just now learning that Planned Parenthood is willing to help actors portraying a sex-trafficking pimp and a prostituted juvenile, isn’t it likely that actual sex traffickers have been using Planned Parenthood clinics for years?” he asks.

Wagner says government agencies are right to consider cutting off taxpayer funding to the Planned Parenthood abortion business because of the harm it does to young women and girls.

“If Planned Parenthood clinics are willing to aid and abet the sexual exploitation of children, Congress has an obligation to cut off the substantial federal subsidies flowing to the organization,” he says.

He concludes: “The commercial sexual exploitation of children is beyond an epidemic in the United States. We urgently need as a society to confront this crisis and undertake every possible measure to find and rescue the victims. We need to stop coddling the pimps and ignoring the “johns” who pay for sex with minors. And any health care provider who is complicit in this exploitation should be held to account.”