Behind landmark sex-trafficking bills, resolve of 20 women senators

The Senate will consider one of several Senate human trafficking bills Tuesday. Attention has focused on a narrow partisan dispute, but the bills represent a dramatic shift toward a more humane view of the victims of sex trafficking.

By Francine Kiefer, Staff writer MARCH 17, 2015

WASHINGTON — In February, the women of the Senate – Republican and Democrat – got together for one of their monthly dinners at the Capitol. Only the senators attended. No staff. Up for discussion: What issue would the women want to throw their weight behind in this new Congress?

Their decision was auspicious. They decided to take on the “despicable, vile issue of human trafficking,” Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D) of Maryland, who convenes the dinners, said in addressing the Senate March 4. Sex trafficking crosses party lines, it reaches into every state, and it particularly affects women and children. It is the fastest growing business of organized crime and the third largest criminal enterprise in the world, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation...