Open Letter From Conservative Leaders
Congress Must Demand that Laws to Halt Modern Slavery Be Enforced and Uphold the Principle That Government Action Should Protect Life

April 5, 2016
Washington, D.C.

All people of good will believe that sex trafficking, forced labor, and other modern forms of slavery are an affront to basic human dignity. Around the world churches, ministries, nonprofit organizations, and governments are working against the multi-billion-dollar human trafficking industry, to prevent victims from being enslaved, to punish those who commit these atrocities, and to liberate and assist victims so they can recover and rebuild their lives.

Many people and organizations are also attempting to establish or strengthen the rule of law and to eliminate the government corruption that aids and abets trafficking. These efforts are critical to ending modern slavery.

Enslaving a human being denies that person’s dignity and moral worth. The moral principles in which this truth is rooted also compel us to recognize the dignity of each and every human being. This ethic of life necessitates providing compassionate care and assistance to pregnant victims of trafficking and protecting the unborn children who are additional victims of this modern form of slavery. U.S. leadership in fighting human trafficking domestically and around the world should be consistent with the principle that every human life has value and deserves protection. Despite their numbers, the victims of modern slavery are not statistics: They are individuals. They have names, like Qamar, Najwa, and Raqiyah; and some of them may have names even if they haven’t been born yet.

The United States should take two particular steps to combat modern slavery. First, the U.S. should ensure that no US taxpayer funds are paid to those who may be complicit in perpetuating trafficking. The U.S. Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report evaluates country efforts to comply with minimum standards for combating trafficking in persons. There are four categories. From best to worst, they are: Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 2 Watch List, and Tier 3. Countries on Tier 2 Watch List and Tier 3 include totalitarian and notoriously corrupt regimes, e.g., inter alia, Burundi, Central African Republic, and South Sudan. The U.S. should support the efforts of nongovernmental organizations in Tier 2 Watch List and Tier 3 countries that rescue and rehabilitate victims of trafficking and that address challenges to the rule of law. However, aid is fungible and if it ends up in the wrong hands, it can perpetuate precisely the evil that it is provided to stop. The U.S. has a responsibility to ensure that funding for anti-trafficking efforts has appropriate safeguards and reliable oversight so that it does not bolster corrupt governments or governmental entities that are complicit in human trafficking.

Second, the U.S. should ensure that the taxpayers’ money is used in ways that respect the inherent dignity and right to life of every human being. The U.S. should ensure, therefore, that no funds from any U.S. government program established to combat human trafficking are used to perform an abortion, or to assist in or facilitate an abortion, or to coerce any person into performing, assisting, or facilitating an abortion.

Senator Corker (R-TN), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has introduced S. 553, the End Modern Slavery Initiative (EMSI) Act. The bill would create a congressionally charted 501(c)(3) foundation that could receive funding from the United States government, and from foreign governments and private donors, which it could distribute to NGOs that work to eliminate trafficking. While the portion of the funding from the U.S. government would be covered by existing statutory prohibitions on U.S. Government monies’ being used to fund abortions, the funding from other governments and from private individuals would not be subject to the prohibition. Therefore, in order to be truly effective in the fight against human trafficking and its related evils, the language in the legislation should be strengthened by including a provision to protect human life.

Many Americans rightly feel a strong moral obligation to combat human trafficking around the world. They believe the U.S. should continue to support the most effective programs that reduce trafficking, and those that assist victims and prevent further enslavement, while at the same time upholding the worth of all human beings — whatever their names are, and whether they have been born or not.

Legislative efforts to fight trafficking, including the End Modern Slavery Initiative Act (S. 553), must advance these goals if they are to be regarded as serious, and potentially effective, efforts to combat human trafficking.

The Honorable Edwin Meese III
Former Attorney General
President Ronald Reagan
The Honorable Becky Norton Dunlop
Chairman, Conservative Action Project
Former Advisor, President Ronald Reagan
The Honorable Kenneth Blackwell
Former U.S. Representative
UN Human Rights Commission
Marjorie Dannenfelser
Susan B. Anthony List
L. Brent Bozell, III
Founder and President
Media Research Center
The Honorable Colin A. Hanna
Let Freedom Ring, Inc.
Ed Corrigan
Former Executive Director
Senate Steering Committee
The Honorable T. Kenneth Cribb, Jr.
Former Domestic Advisor
President Ronald Reagan
David Bozell
Alfred S. Regnery
Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund
Tony Perkins
President, Family Research Council
President, Council for National Policy
Diana L. Banister
Coordinating Committee
Shirley & Banister Public Affairs
Malcolm Morris
Attorney at Law
Todd W. Herrick
Herrick Foundation
Allen J. Hebert
American-Chinese Fellowship
Ralph Benko
Andrea Lafferty
Traditional Values Coalition
Joel Anand Samy
Co-Founder and President
International Leaders Summit
Peter J. Thomas
Americans for Constitutional Liberty
Bob Adams
Revive America PAC
Kenneth R. Timmerman
Foundation for Democracy in Iran
Jason Jones
Founder and President, Movie to Movement and Human Rights Education and Relief Organization (HERO)
Nadine Maenza
Executive Director
Patriot Voices
Christopher Malagisi
Young Conservatives Coalition
Eli Lehrer
The R Street Institute
Sean Noble
American Encore
Benjamin R. Case
Case Consulting Services, Inc.
Floyd Brown
Western Center for Journalism
Lee Beaman
Beaman Automotive Group
Ellen Barrosse
Chairman, Conservative Steering Committee
of the Republican National Committee
Charles J. Cooper
Former Assistant Attorney General
President Ronald Reagan
Thomas S. Winter
Editor in Chief
Human Events
Dr. Herbert I. London
London Center for Policy Research
Seton Motley
Less Government
Thomas E. McClusky
Vice President
March for Life Action
Elaine Donnelly
Founder and President
Center for Military Readiness
C. Preston Noell III
Tradition, Family, Property, Inc.
Donna Hearne
The Constitutional Coalition
Tricia Erickson
Angel Pictures & Publicity
Rod D. Martin
Founder and CEO
The Martin Organization
Sherri R. Martin
The Martin Foundation
Haley E. Martin
Founder and Chief Designer
H.M. Willow, Inc.
Shawn A. Mitchell
Chaplain, National Federation of Republican Assemblies (NFRA)
Nicholas Stehle
Campaign for the American Future
Monty Warner
Plains States Legal Foundation
Steve Thrasher
Special Counsel, National Federation of
Republican Assemblies (NFRA)
The Honorable Jerry Melvin
Florida Republican Assembly
Bradley Mattes
Life Issues Institute
Anthony Allen
Hannibal-LaGrange University
Barry Creamer
Criswell College
Kevin Freeman
NSIC Institute
William J. Murray
Religious Freedom Coalition
Robert K. Fischer
Meeting Coordinator
Conservatives for Faith
Dr. Gil Amelio
Former CEO
Apple Computer
Jay Mount
MDS Communications Corporation
Gary Aldrich
CNP Action, Inc.
Kevin Bumgarner
Executive Editor
Florida Baptist Witness
The Honorable Mike Spence
Conservative Republicans of California
Andresen Blom
Executive Director
Hawaii Christian Coalition
Gary L. Bauer
American Values
Willes K. Lee
National Federation of Republican Assemblies
Dr. Ted Baehr
Phyllis Schlafly
Eagle Forum
Dr. James C. Dobson
Founder & President
Dr. James Dobson’s FamilyTalk
Hon. James C. Miller III
Former OMB Director
President Ronald Reagan
Mike Hill
Representative (FL-2)
Florida State Representative
Ken Boehm
National Legal and Policy Center
Mario H. Lopez
Hispanic Leadership Fund
Hon. Bob Barr
Former U.S. Representative (R-GA)
Chairman, Liberty Guard
Michael Clerkin
The Widows & Orphans Fund
Grant Starrett
Candidate for Congress
Tennessee’s 4th Congressional District
Melissa Ortiz
Founder & Principal
Able Americans
Richard A. Viguerie
American Target Advertising, Inc.
Penny Young Nance
CEO and President
Concerned Women for America

All organizations listed for identification purposes only.

The Conservative Action Project, founded by former Attorney General Edwin Meese and chaired by The Honorable Becky Norton Dunlop, is designed to facilitate conservative leaders working together on behalf of common goals. Participants include the CEO’s of over 100 organizations representing all major elements of the conservative movement: economic, social and national security.