Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs, today stressed the importance of stigmatizing the international sex tourism industry as a key part of combatting human trafficking abroad. Rubio made his comments during a subcommittee hearing entitled, “Combating Forced Labor and Modern-Day Slavery in East Asia and The Pacific.”
Rubio also questioned the U.S. Department of State witnesses regarding allegations that its Trafficking in Persons Report has been unduly politicized in designating problem countries, in addition to the problem of trafficking in child soldiers.
A video of the full exchange is available here.
An excerpt from the exchange is available below:
Senator Rubio: “Just here, domestically, I think one of the most important things we need to continue to do – and this is more of an editorial statement – is we need to make it very clear there is nothing culturally acceptable about going to these other countries, as Americans, and participating in these sorts of things.
“I mean, there’s this attitude, that I’ve run into now and then, where things we would never do in this country is ok if we do it somewhere else because in those countries it’s culturally acceptable in some way.
“I think you’ve seen this reflected, sometimes, in popular culture, but even anecdotally among people. And I think one of the things -- we have to be very clear in that there is nothing acceptable about us, or Americans, going abroad to one of these countries and going into brothels at all, not to mention those that have people underage working there.
“And I think that’s important to point out because we do find the presence of Westerners and Americans frequenting some of these places that we’ve talked about in the sex trafficking industry, and we should truly try to stigmatize that in our society.”