By Ambassador Luis CdeBaca
Last week, a court in New York sentenced a client of a prostituted child. So often, such a crime goes uncharged, or if an arrest is made, the case is unnoticed, unreported. But because the defendant was NFL Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor, not an anonymous "john," the case was heavily covered. The pimp who allegedly provided the sixteen year-old girl to Taylor is under indictment as well, on federal sex trafficking charges. A successful outcome? To some degree, but it was certainly tarnished after the sentencing, when the child victim told her side of the story and media outlets used that as excuse to print her name.
This episode made me reflect about how easy it can be to regard the protection of survivors as the responsibility of the court system or victim advocates, while at the same time the media exploits and sensationalizes a crime and the public watches passively or even revels in the scandal. But just as this is not a victimless crime, this is also a crime in which the solution lies with all of us.
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Ambassador Luis CdeBaca serves as Director of the State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons and Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State.