The Lamp

Where truth can be shared.

Human Trafficking Issue Deserves More Attention

Posted by thelamp on September 19, 2006

Earlier this month, community leaders across southwest Florida turned out for a gala sponsored by the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking. For several hours on a Saturday evening, the evil issue of human slavery was the center of attention.

The Center for Moral Clarity shares the Florida coalition’s compassionate concern for the detestable exploitation of God’s men, women and children. This definitely is an issue worthy of more attention, if not the spotlight. (Click here to make it happen). Consider that Florida ranks second in human trafficking crimes in the United States, with California at number one and New York in third place on this dubious list.

Guests at the event in Florida viewed an exclusive showing of “Lives for Sale,” a human trafficking documentary that was filmed in the area. The documentary, produced by Lightfoot Productions and the Christian group MaryKnoll, focuses on a federal case involving a Guatemalan girl who was brought to Florida, then raped, beaten and forced to work until she was rescued in May of 2005.

The film is scheduled to air on public television throughout the country early next year. It’ll also be shown on the Hallmark Channel. It promises to be worth watching, if only to motivate America into action. Keep in mind; the events depicted in the documentary continue to occur every day, as souls around the world are tormented.

This is a serious international problem, and America must not continue contributing to it. A report released by the State Department in June estimated that between 600,000 and 800,000 women and children are trafficked across international borders every year. Although the Government Accountability Office disputes the accuracy of those statistics, even one person forced into servitude is too many.

A recent United Nations report, Trafficking in Persons: Global Patterns, noted that men are increasingly becoming victims and are trafficked for forced labor in countries with booming economies. Last week, authorities in Israel were investigating several instances of Columbians who died or disappeared in the Negev desert and are believed to be victims of a human trafficking ring that offers passage to the Middle East.

On any given day, news headlines bemoan similar stories in India, Afghanistan, Asia and elsewhere. Here in the United States, efforts are being made to stop human trafficking and punish those benefiting from it. Currently there are no ‘human trafficking’ laws in New York State, so those engaging in the practice there have been prosecuted in federal court.

Different and competing human trafficking bills that passed in the New York Senate and Assembly this year have resulted in gridlock and no action. Last month state Sen. John Sabini offered a compromise, bill S8485, which combines the best elements of the other proposals as a third and more comprehensive option.

The Christian community must do more than watch with empathy. There shouldn’t be a single place in this country where immigrants are prey for those who place no value on human life. Likewise, our foreign policy must make it clear that this nation won’t condone the ugly visage of human trafficking anywhere.

Make a difference.

Support U.S. Senate Resolution 549
Which resolves that:

  • the abolition of modern-day slavery should be a priority of the United States foreign and domestic policy;
  • the United States should continue to bring together governments, international organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and individuals to form a comprehensive coalition to fight modern-day slavery;
  • the Federal Government should continue to expand protection and legal options for victims of modern-day slavery;
  • the abolition of modern-day slavery should be prioritized at the 2007 Group of 8 (G-8) Summit in Germany; and
  • the trade policy of the United States should reflect the commitment of the United States to freedom for all people.

If you live in New York, write your state Assembly members in support of bill S8485, which would severely punish those who engage in human trafficking and also provide assistance to the victims of these appalling crimes.



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