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HHS decision on bishops' program will harm victims of human trafficking: former director

Catholic World News - November 29, 2011

When the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to halt funding for a program on human trafficking run by the bishops’ conference, many Catholic leaders charged that the decision was motivated by anti-Catholic bias. But Steven Wagner, the former director of the program, sees an even stronger argument against the HHS decision.

Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that the bishops’ program was dropped because it did not provide funding for contraception and abortion. Wagner points out that women who are being exploited for sex—not an uncommon phenomenon in human trafficking—such “services” might guarantee longer servitude. “In fact, to provide abortions or regimes of contraception to a person currently being exploited for commercial sex might very well be a death sentence.”

“This dispute isn’t simply about the morality of abortion in general; it is about the specific harm inflicted on victims of human trafficking,” Wagner says. He that the new HHS approach “will visit addition harm on the victims.”

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  • Posted by: rpp - Nov. 29, 2011 5:44 PM ET USA

    HHS is not interested in stopping human trafficking. Not at all. They view these victims as "sex workers" and feel that it is a reasonable career that needs government support to stop excesses. They do not view prostitutes as victims, but under-represented workers. Thus contraception and abortion services are important to that mind-set. The concept that they actually need to be rescued does not enter their thoughts.

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