Community Foundation of New Jersey

Carter Discusses Human Trafficking

April 10, 2014

In an interview with TIME Magazine today, former President Jimmy Carter talks about human trafficking and the best approach to stopping the problem. Scroll down for Carter’s remarks and let us know what you think.  The Community Foundation of New Jersey is committed to stopping human trafficking; click here for our latest work.

What could the U.S. do better to address human trafficking?

What we’ve done so far is a tiny step. Congress mandated, or required, that the US State Department give an annual report on global human trafficking or slavery. It is much greater now than it ever was during the 19th century when black people were brought out of Africa to the New World. It amounts to about $32 billion a year. The United States is heavily involved in human slavery. The officials particularly at the local level throughout America look the other way for prostitution. The policemen are either bribed or they are given free sexual favors or they get orders from their chief of police that come from the mayor and city council, ‘Oh let’s not rock the boat.’ So prostitution thrives in the United States. We focus in this country on punishing the girls. For every brothel owner or pimp or male customer, there are 50 girls who are arrested for being prostitutes. Other countries have tried the other way around, and it works beautifully. Sweden is the number one example that other countries are now emulating, where they bring the charges against the brothel owners and the pimps and the male customers, and they do not prosecute the girls, who quite often are brought into that trade involuntarily. It works quite well by the way.

Is that an example the US should follow?

I think so, yes. I would like to see our country follow it, but so far there is not any question about it. Everybody just sits back and says this is the way it is to be. But it you arrest two or three prominent men in a community, in Atlanta, New York, or wherever, the prostitution would drop off immediately, and you would remove almost completely the involuntary sale of prostitutes against their will in those communities.