Confession: I don’t know very much about human trafficking. But, I’ve spoken with a few people who are heavily involved in the pro-life movement, and also heavily involved in combating human trafficking. The issue comes to mind because Bill C-268, a private member’s bill calling for mandatory minimum sentences for child traffickers, was passed by the Senate on June 17.
Pro-life groups like ours form around life issues, that is, usually issues of life and death, like promoting alternatives to abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide, embryonic stem cell research, in vitro fertilization, etc. A lot of pro-lifer people I know are also involved in other social justice issues, like fighting poverty, for example, but fighting poverty wouldn’t be an appropriate primary focus for a pro-life organization (in the same way that it wouldn’t be an appropriate primary focus for a consumer advocacy group—doesn’t mean it’s not important, but it’s not the focus or purpose of the particular group).
So, question: is human trafficking a pro-life issue?
It’s not a life/death issue, in the sense that we’re killing human beings as a society because we don’t care about them. And it’s not a societal issue, in the sense that society approves of it, like abortion. But it is a serious affront to the dignity of the human person, a form of modern slavery. But, other crimes are also an affront on the dignity of the person. I guess what differentiates human trafficking is that, it seems, we have only recently begun to understand the vast scale of the problem and find ways to address it (or at least, those efforts have come a bit more into the spotlight recently). What needs to be done here is for more attention to be focused on this problem. We don’t need to convince people that human trafficking is wrong, but, unlike other crimes like murder, we aren’t accustomed to dealing with it as a society. But do pro-life organizations have any skill, expertise or resources in this type of work? Would they even have anything to offer? Or, would it be worth developing the kind of expertise needed to make some progress on an issue like this?
I’m just thinking out loud here. Obviously, this is an incredibly important issue, that’s not my question. My question is, do you think human trafficking is something that pro-life organizations should tackle directly? Or is it the sort of issue that pro-life people might work to combat through other channels?
What do you think?