At the symposium held at Yale University earlier this year on the topic of human trafficking, Ambassador Luis CdeBaca stated, ‘it will take a creative community – law and government agencies, civil, art, academics, LEO’s, NGO’s – to eradicate this crime’. I loudly applaud his next statement: ‘what we need is a cultural shift…where we reject the notion that boys will be boys!’
In light of the scandal, or should we call it for what it is, exploitation of women, involving secret service men caught with prostitutes and visiting strip clubs, I continue to look for the words 'human trafficking' to enter the same headlines with 'secret service men caught'. President Obama, addressing this humiliation, stated, "I expect us to observe the highest standards." He also stated, "The agents represent the United States and are supposed to conduct themselves with the highest levels of dignity anywhere in the world. Obviously, what's been reported doesn't match up to those standards".
The question to ask is who sets those high standards? And from where does the definition of dignity derive?
In light of the hard work and sometimes dangerous efforts made in the fight against human trafficking to recognize the human dignity of every victim, the exploitation of these women by President Obama’s Secret Service men is truly discouraging. In December 2011, President Obama wrote in the Presidential Proclamation for National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention, “I urge all Americans to educate themselves about all forms of modern slavery and the signs and consequences of human trafficking.” Perhaps he would do well to launch an educational program beginning with our Secret Service men about the true meaning of human dignity, and the truths about human trafficking - the second largest criminal industry in the U.S.
It is no longer a boys’ world – in fact, the time has come for the men of our country to take a stand and begin valuing women for their inherent dignity alone. May those men caught in this so-called scandal be reminded of their dignity and value, as well, which can begin the kind of healing needed in the very fabric of our country; which can begin the shift in our culture where human dignity is recognized and upheld.
So, amen, Ambassador Luis CdeBaca. The old adage ‘boys will be boys’ IS no longer acceptable in today’s world. Perhaps that is a good place for men to start characterizing what it means to observe the ‘highest standards’. Perhaps that is a good place to begin a conversation that will change our world.
*** Additional reading: Was the Secret Service Pornified? What do you suppose are the chances that the Secret Service agents who embarrassed themselves, possibly endangered the life of the president of the United States, and very likely damaged their marriages and the lives of their children by engaging prostitutes in Cartagena, were consumers of pornography? Read more...