Letters to the editor

Aug. 06, 2013 @ 06:39 PM

Legislation targets sex trafficking

The State Legislature is receiving much media attention overshadowing accomplishments we can all celebrate. The new sex trafficking legislation is both vital and nationally newsworthy. 

North Carolina has consistently been ranked among the top 10 states for the presence of human trafficking.  However, with unanimous support the Safe Harbor bill (SB 683) will push North Carolina far from these rankings to become one of eight states to protect minors under 18 from charges of prostitution.  

Victims of sex trafficking endure immense repetitive trauma and abuse, yet purchasers and traffickers continue to demand sexual services and enslave victims to fulfill their desires.  Tragically, many acts of sex trafficking, such as prostitution, pornography and escort services, are still viewed as voluntary rather than involving victims of sex trafficking. SB 683 works to address these situations by increasing penalties related to prostitution and providing protection for victims of this sexual exploitation.     

North Carolina has also passed three bills this session that help support efforts to eradicate sexual exploitation, giving us much to celebrate (SB 122, HB 75. HB 149). However, further media attention, laws and citizen actions are needed to end both labor and sex trafficking,  making North Carolina a more just and safe state.  

Traci Rowe

Raleigh

The writer is secretary of Partners Against Trafficking Humans North Carolina (PATHNC)

Week-old road kill

As it comes under fire for trashing the Constitution and the idea of limited government, the National Security Agency seeks to redeem its reputation.

The administration closes down embassies across North Africa and the Middle East because of chatter, vaguely reminiscent of 9-11, that was intercepted by the NSA, indicating a major attack in the works. Is there a real threat here? We will never know, but there is reason to be skeptical.

Forget for the moment the absurdity of basing foreign and national security decisions on “chatter” – chatter  is what squirrels do in the trees -- and just consider the timing. How convenient for the voyeurs in the NSA to come across evidence -- that only they can see, of course, it’s classified -- of a major threat coming at us, just a few days after the House nearly passed an amendment defunding their sorry buttocks. It smells of week-old road kill, and like week-old road kill deserves to be thrown into the land fill. A real threat? Maybe, but I doubt it.

Jim Senter 

Rougemont

Article, headline premature

The article and particularly the headline “Durham County Talks of Diverting Transit Money”, August 6, were premature and somewhat misleading.

The Board of Commissioners was having a wide-ranging conversation about the need to plan for affordable housing at our transit stops. It was called for in the state legislation that granted us the ability to have a referendum and it may be an element in the federal government’s rating system.

My major point was that planning for affordable housing at transit stops appears to be a basic element of transit planning and needs to be done. However, we are also looking at other ways to move forward and do the requisite planning. The Board discussed having a broader discussion of the issue at a meeting in the fall.  

Ellen Reckhow

Durham County Board of Commissioners