CINCINNATI (TDB) -- The vice president of operations at Citizens for Community Values -- the anti-porn, anti-gay religious right group headed by Phil Burress -- has an obnoxious and highly inaccurate Op-Ed piece on page B-7 of today's Cincinnati Enquirer print edition. It says the "large number of colleges and military bases" in Ohio have helped turn the state into a hub of the human trafficking industry.
That is an insult to the students on Ohio's campuses, and a despicable remark to level at the Americans voluntarily serving in the armed forces during a time of war. They simply are not in league with human trafficking industry.
But Jerry Lyons, CCV's veep and the Op-Ed author, also is wrong on his facts. It is false to say Ohio is home to a "large number" of military bases. Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton is huge and the state's biggest employer with some 38,000 workers on the Pentagon payroll. But the vast majority are civilians -- fewer than 8,000 active duty Air Force personnel are at the base. Other than Wright-Pat, there are only a handful of reserve, National Guard and Coast Guard facilities left in the state.
For some unfathomable reason, Citizens for Community Values has decided to warn Ohio that its colleges and the military are in the cult of brothels and actively supporting the unspeakably evil human traffickers who capture women and use them as sex slaves. The Enquirer has not yet made the Op-Ed available on the Internet. Perhaps it is too ashamed. But this is some of what Lyons wrote:
"The ugly truth is that Ohio, primarily for two practical reasons, has become a significant hub for human sexual trafficking. Lake Erie allows easy access for trafficked victims from Canada, while the state's excellent highway grid allows movement to cities throughout the country.
"There are additional factors. The large number of colleges and military bases contribute to trafficking. Cleveland and Columbus, therefore, have been identified as cities popular among johns seeking Asian massage parlors serving as fronts for brothels."
If Lyons had really been on the ball, if he had used his brains, he might have noticed that he was describing Lake Erie as a transfer point, a porous transfer point used by smugglers to access the U.S. homeland. If traffickers really are so successful secretly shipping sex slaves to campuses and military bases around Ohio, then think of what the terrorists and drug dealers must be moving across the lake these days. Heroin and cocaine come to mind. So do explosives and radioactive materiel. Is Lyons more concerned about massage parlors than a nuclear weapon?
Now, this is not the first time CCV has made its claim about the campuses and military bases contributing to human trafficking. In fact, virtually the same words appeared last August in CitizenUSA, an apparently defunct Christian right newspaper. The story quoted another CCV official who said, "The large numbers of college and military bases also contribute to the traffic."
The complete article is still at the link above, but the pertinent part is here:
"In Cincinnati Thompson conducted a workshop sponsored by Citizens for Community Values. CCV’s representative on the Rescue & Restore coalition, Bruce Purdy said, “Ohio has become a significant hub for human sex trafficking because of geography and demographics. Lake Erie allows trafficking to move from Canada, while the various interstate corridors allow movement of victims to cities throughout the country. The large number of colleges and military bases also contribute to the traffic. Cleveland and Columbus have been identified as major cities popular among johns seeking Asian massage parlors serving as front for brothels."