Don’t Call Victims of Sex Trafficking ‘Young Women’

July 15, 2019 | Swanee Hunt

My friend Elaine Kamarck (with Brookings and Kennedy School standing) has been studying the Epstein case for months. She called, insisting that I submit an op-ed, as one of few who could speak to a critical point that’s been missing from high-level media. Who are these “underage women?”

I stayed up all night, getting out of my head and pouring my heart into the piece. I’ve spent more than two decades listening to women and girls who have been trafficked for sex. If you could hear, as I have, from so many sitting around my kitchen table….

My exposure to this subject is unusual. While serving as the US Ambassador to Austria, I made 22 trips to Eastern and Central Europe—Russia, Hungary, Serbia, and more. I wasn’t looking for trafficking. It found me. I remember particularly well the poignant plea of one Moldovan: “Our girls are disappearing from our villages.”

Here and now, the years, the places, the names have changed, but the vulnerability of the girls and the power of the men have not. Epstein (like Patriots owner Bob Kraft) have put trafficking on the front page. Read my latest op-ed in The Boston Globe: Don’t call victims of sex trafficking ‘young women.’