A new State Department report aired on Capitol Hill Thursday tags China as the world's prostitution center, sending female sex slaves to every single continent while also luring girls from other countries into forced marriages.
"China remains a significant source of girls and women subjected to forced prostitution throughout the world. During the year, Chinese sex trafficking victims were reported on all of the inhabited continents," said the latest "Trafficking in Persons Report" from State.
At a House Foreign Relations Committee hearing Thursday, Rep. Chris Smith, who chairs the committee's panel that oversees international human rights, said "China has become the global magnet for sex traffickers."
Smith, a leader in Washington's fight against human trafficking, and the author of the State report, blamed China's male-dominated society and the communist government's demand that families have only one child. They said the policy leads to abortion or the abandonment of baby girls.
One result is women being tricked into coming to China then being forced into marriage. The report from State's Ambassador-at-Large for Trafficking in Persons, Luis CdeBaca, said, "The Chinese government's birth limitation policy and a cultural preference for sons, create a skewed sex ratio of 118 boys to 100 girls in China, which served as a key source of demand for the trafficking of foreign women as brides for Chinese men and for forced prostitution." The report added that the government plays a role in the sex trafficking.
The other is the rounding up of girls who are then forced to become sex slaves in China and other countries. "Women and young girls have been and are today still being reduced to commodities and coerced into prostitution," said Smith, a New Jersey Republican. "Without serious and sustained action by Beijing, it is only going to get worse."
The State report gave China its worst grade, and countries like Russia and Vietnam were also condemned.
CdeBaca said the report just scratched the surface of the problem human trafficking, mostly for forced labor and prostitution.
"The report estimates that, based on the information that governments have provided, only around 40,000 victims were identified in the last year. In contrast, social scientists estimate that this crime victimizes as many as 27 million people at any given time," he said. The diplomat added, "That massive gap illustrates how far we have to go in this effort to identify, rescue, and provide support and services for the millions who toil unseen and beyond the reach of law; and to bring to justice the traffickers who exploit and abuse their victims with impunity."
Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.