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GOP Senate candidate claims 'cultural elites, Hollywood, and the media' are responsible for human trafficking

A potential challenger to Missouri's Democratic incumbent senator, Claire McCaskill (Mo.), erroneously claimed in December that human trafficking can be traced back to the sexual revolution of the 1960s, The Kansas City Star reports. Although the sexual revolution dramatically shifted America's moral attitudes about premarital sex, contraception, nudity, and the expression of sexuality, experts have not linked it to a "human trafficking crisis," as Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley suggested at a "Pastors and Pews" event.

As Kimberly Mehlman-Orozco, an expert on the subject and the author of Hidden in Plain Sight: America's Slaves of the New Millennium, noted: "I have a brothel guide from 1908."

Nevertheless, Hawley argued: "Our culture has completely lost its way. The sexual revolution has led to exploitation of women on a scale that we would never have imagined, never have imagined." Hawley further claimed: "You know what I'm talking about, the 1960s, 1970s, it became commonplace in our culture among our cultural elites, Hollywood, and the media, to talk about, to denigrate the biblical truth about husband and wife, man and woman."

Upon hearing about Hawley's comments, Austin Petersen — another Republican candidate vying to run against McCaskill — told The Kansas City Star that "it would … be great if GOP Senate candidates could stop writing Claire's attack ads and fundraising emails for her."

Mehlman-Orozco additionally clarified that there is "absolutely no empirical evidence or research to suggest there was any uptick in human trafficking in the 1960s or '70s or that that's when it started." Read more about Hawley's comments at The Kansas City Star.