US Politics

Republican senate contender blames human trafficking on sexual revolution and ‘anything goes’ attitude

‘The false gospel of anything-goes ends in this road of slavery’

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 01 February, 2018, 2:49pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 01 February, 2018, 3:12pm

A leading candidate for the Republican nomination for US Senate in Missouri recently blamed the problem of human trafficking on the sexual revolution of the 1960s and ’70s during remarks he gave at a religious conference.

Josh Hawley, the state’s attorney general and the Trump-endorsed candidate as the party tries to unseat Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill, made the remarks in December at the event “Rediscovering God in America,” hosted by a Christian political group, the Missouri Renewal Project.

“We’re living now with the terrible aftereffects of this so-called revolution,” said Hawley, according to audio of the event. “We have a human trafficking crisis in our state and in this city and in our country because people are willing to purchase women, young women, and treat them like commodities. There is a market for it. Why is there? Because our culture has completely lost its way. The sexual revolution has led to exploitation of women on a scale that we would never have imagined.”

The remarks were published on Wednesday by The Kansas City Star. Hawley’s campaign later uploaded audio of the event on YouTube and said they had been broadcast previously on a Christian radio network.

[There is] absolutely no empirical evidence or research to suggest there was any uptick in human trafficking in the 1960s or 70s or that that’s when it started
Kimberly Mehlman-Orozco, a human trafficking expert

Hawley, a staunch abortion foe, spoke about “the lordship of Christ,” and said that the appropriate place for sex was “within marriage.”

The news comes on the heels of statements made by one of his opponents for the Republican nomination, Courtland Sykes, who criticised feminists and career-focused women as “nail-biting manophobic hell-bent feminist she-devils,” and said he expected his fiancée to make dinner for him every night.

The sexual liberation of the 1960s was part of a cultural upheaval that included the growth of the feminist and gay-rights movements. It was not clear how exactly Hawley connected the sexual openness of the decade to human trafficking.

He also said that “the false gospel of ‘anything goes’ ends in this road of slavery.”

Kimberly Mehlman-Orozco, a human trafficking expert, told The Star that there is “absolutely no empirical evidence or research to suggest there was any uptick in human trafficking in the 1960s or 70s or that that’s when it started.”

She said that sex trafficking has been an issue in the United States as long as the country has been around, and said that it drew attention after the Civil War.

“There are quite a few politicians, both Republican and Democrat, who try to use the issue to help themselves get elected without doing much research,” Mehlman-Orozco said. “It’s a bipartisan issue that most people can come behind.”

Hawley’s campaign released a statement that doubled down on his assertion.

“Let’s get serious: sex trafficking is driven by male demand and the subjugation of women,” spokeswoman Kelli Ford said. “In the 1960s and ’70s, it became okay for Hollywood and the media to treat women as objects for male gratification. And that demeaning view of women has helped fuel harassment, inequality, and yes, sex trafficking.”