On this Independence Day, we must remember those who are still enslaved.

On this Independence Day, we must remember those who are still enslaved.

The most scathing accusation against King George in the original draft of the Declaration of Independence never made it into the final version, but on this Fourth of July it is more important than ever. It read:

He has waged a cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights to life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who have never offended him, captivating them and carrying them off into slavery in another hemisphere, or incurring a miserable death in their transportation thither.

Our country has come a long way since Thomas Jefferson, himself a slave owner, wrote those words. Yet nearly 250 years later, we remain a leading destination for modern slavery, human trafficking. As then, many of today’s victims are innocent children.

To understand how bad the situation is, let’s recall that a decade ago, on June 20, 2014, Vice President Biden expressed concern that 24,000 unaccompanied minors had been apprehended at the southern border in a single year, calling the number “alarming” and “unsustainable.” “Between 75 and 80 percent” of these vulnerable children, he estimated, were being sold into forced labor or prostitution by smugglers.

Since President Biden took office, more than 130,000 unaccompanied minors have arrived at our southern border each year, more than four times the number a decade ago. By the President’s own estimates, nearly 100,000 children are trafficked into the United States each year.

>>> The United States is a prime destination for child sex trafficking, and it’s happening in your community

Americans, both left and right, are eager to see this change.

When the independent film “Sound of Freedom” was released on July 4, its gripping tale of the prevalence and horror of child sex trafficking resonated with millions of Americans. The film quickly surpassed blockbusters such as “Indiana Jones,” “Mission Impossible” and “The Hunger Games” at the U.S. box office.

In states like Alabama, public support for the film was so strong that it inspired the Sound of Freedom Act, which mandates life imprisonment for first-degree human trafficking offenders when the victim is a minor.

In Congress, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) worked with us to introduce the SECURE Act, which requires the federal government to investigate and report the potential trafficking of the estimated 85,000 unaccompanied migrant children released by DHS into the United States but whose whereabouts remain unknown.

But in Hollywood, and much of Washington, “The Sound of Freedom” was greeted with skepticism and contempt.

Countless pundits and reports have tried to link the film to the QAnon conspiracy theory. Biden’s own Defense Department, despite the president’s expressed concerns about it, canceled screenings of the film at U.S. Southern Command headquarters in Doral, Florida. And, of course, the SECURE Act hasn’t even passed the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

It is unfortunate that the film has been politicized in this way. Protecting children and fighting traffickers should not be a partisan issue. Among voters, it is not. Only in Washington and Hollywood could it become so.

Child sex trafficking, like any market, is based on supply and demand. In this case, the supply comes from a constant stream of innocent children being bought, sold, and abused. The demand is fueled by depraved adults.

The easiest and most effective way for the White House to immediately reduce supply would be to secure the southern border, thereby undermining cartel activity.

Unfortunately, border security does not align with current liberal priorities. That is why, late last month, the president chose to grant amnesty to nearly 500,000 illegal immigrants to “keep American families together.” That may sound good, but it only serves to further incentivize desperate people to send their children into the arms of human traffickers.

Even fewer people in Washington are willing to do what it takes to reduce the demand for sex trafficking: take on the multi-billion dollar porn industry.

Pornography is dramatically increasing the size and scope of the sex trafficking industry. According to researchers at the University of Massachusetts Boston, “teen pornography” was the “fastest-growing pornographic genre” between 2005 and 2013. By March of that year, it was the “largest single genre…in terms of search frequency,” accounting for “500,000” searches.

Since then, things have only gotten worse. The National Institutes of Health reported that COVID-19 has led to a 19% increase in pornography consumption, followed by a drastic increase in the number of URLs confirmed to contain child sexual abuse images, from 132,676 in 2019 to more than 255,000 in 2022.

>>> AI-generated child pornography fuels child sexual exploitation industry

Our leaders could address this problem if they wanted to. In 2020, a single article exposing child pornography and human trafficking videos on Pornhub was enough to force the company to remove 10 million videos, or 80% of the site’s total content, almost overnight.

Imagine what would happen if Republicans and Democrats in Congress worked together to force porn companies to put warning labels on their sites about porn’s connection to child trafficking or its negative effects on mental health. Or better yet, if Biden encouraged Democrats to support Sen. Mike Lee’s SCREEN Act, which requires all commercial porn sites to adopt age-verification technology to ensure that a child cannot access its pornographic content.

As the election approaches, these issues can no longer be ignored. The “sound of freedom” may have come and gone from the headlines, but the scourge of human trafficking has only worsened under Biden, and it could prove to be a serious weak point for his campaign in November.

Why? The answer is simple.

Because the millions of Americans to whom “Sound of Freedom” spoke are not QAnon conspiracy theorists. Nor are they enemies of freedom and democracy in America.

They are patriotic voters on both sides of the political spectrum who want to see their country live up to its founding ideals, particularly the Declaration of Independence’s insistence that God’s children should never, ever be for sale.