Human exceptionalism holds that every one of us is inherently equal, in moral value, and properly, under the law. Or to put it another way, no human being should ever be treated as an object, only and always as a subject.
Which is why slavery and human trafficking are intrinsic evils that we should strive to eradicate from the face of the earth. But that won’t be done so long as we pay scant attention to the continuing crisis of human bondage in the modern world.
So, I applaud the declaration of January 2018 as, “National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.” From the decree:
During National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, we recommit ourselves to eradicating the evil of enslavement. Human trafficking is a modern form of the oldest and most barbaric type of exploitation. It has no place in our world. This month we do not simply reflect on this appalling reality. We also pledge to do all in our power to end the horrific practice of human trafficking that plagues innocent victims around the world.
There’s much more, including policy preventatives that the Administration has already put in place.
My late good friend and Discovery Institute colleague John R. Miller was State Department ambassador on the issue under President George W. Bush. I once asked John what the worst thing was that he saw during his years of service in that cause. He told me, “Children kept in hanging bamboo cages.”
This excerpt, from a piece John wrote for The Wilson Quarterly in 2008, illustrates the utter wickedness of human trafficking in the modern world:
In Bangkok, I met a teenager named Lord at a Catholic shelter. She told me that her parents in the hills of Laos had sold her at the age of 11 to a woman who promised to educate her. She was then resold to a Bangkok embroidery factory, where she was forced to sew 14 hours a day without pay.
When Lord protested the first time, she was beaten; the second time, she was shot in the face with a BB gun. She was locked in a closet; her captors poured industrial chemicals on her face. Bars across windows and doors kept Lord and other girls from leaving. They were finally rescued in a government raid.
Let us hope that this isn’t all decree and no further action. But calling attention to the crisis is most welcome. This is an evil that stains the world.
Image: Persian slave, 19th century, via Wikicommons.
Cross-posted at The Corner.