Joseph A. Kechichian; 26/6/08
…The Country Reports on Human Rights Practices preceded these publications, going back to the early 1970s, when President Jimmy Carter elevated human rights concerns to the policy level. In all of these reports, including the ones that displayed blatant misinformation, an effort was made to let facts speak for themselves. Starting in the late 1990s, a slew of new areas of concern emerged, including religion – with the Annual Report on International Religious Freedom -and now human trafficking. The June 2008 Trafficking in Persons Report, a 295 pages document available at http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2008/, is in its eight edition and seeks to address a deadly serious issue. Human trafficking means the actual trade in persons, which is akin to modern-day slavery, as its victims are clearly forced into labour or sexual exploitation. The detailed report estimates that approximately 600,000 to 800,000 individuals are made to involuntarily cross national borders to satisfy criminal gangs each year.To be sure, trafficking in people is wrong, and using physical force is neither pleasant nor victimless. Whenever someone is enslaved – readers are encouraged to consult the original to better understand heart-breaking cases – we all lose part of our humanity.