The story of the Secret Service advance team, preparing for President Obama’s visit to Colombia, continues to be headline news. Eleven members have had their security clearance revoked following the allegations that they brought prostitutes into their hotel in Colombia.
What is scary is that this sort of thing happens every day in country after country throughout the world. It is called sex tourism: travel for the purpose of engaging in sex with prostitutes.
When the news first broke, the headlines seemed shocking: U.S. Secret Service agentsbuy prostitutes while in Cartagena, Colombia, advancing a trip for President Obama. But this is no aberration. Men working abroad on behalf of our government engage in this kind of behavior so frequently that the Pentagon was forced in 2004 to draft an anti-prostitution rule aimed at preventing the U.S. military from being complicit in fueling sex trafficking.
Apparently sex trafficking is a regular part of United States military presence overseas:
Serving in the United States military is about honor, dignity, and strength. So it makes sense that the U.S. military would make visiting brothels and having sex with women and kids forced into a prostitution a big no-no for American soldiers, right? On paper, establishments that sell sex are off-limits for men (and women) in uniform. But in practice, sex traffickingflourishes near U.S. military bases. Should U.S. soldiers be abusing people in another country while protecting people in this one?
Do not read this post as simply a sort of ant-military rant. Sex tourism swirls around all of Latin America, especially around large events such as the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics in Brazil. It is a clear indicator of the brokenness of our society. People travel to other countries to do things they would not do here – to buy prostitutes, use women for sex, basically to rape and abuse another human being.
If you feel tempted to brush this off as something that happens overseas only, know that it increasingly happens here: see the article “Not Quite a Teen, yet Sold for Sex.”
Injustice is all around us. It would be easy to shake our heads in yet another clear example of this. The question I ask is: what can we do to change things?