The Seamless Garment: Human Trafficking

This is more of a “rant,” than a thought out piece which I would usually give more effort.

I am infamous for the “consistent life ethic” war cry, even as the magnificent doctrine is abused for partisan gain by everyone on every side of the political spectrum. The idea of the “seamless garment” is not only a beautiful image, but a constant reminder that nothing in the fabric of human activity is isolated and unrelated to all else.

I have found it typical to find that some people fail to see the association between, say, the breakdown of the family and public toleration of divorce, or the “contraceptive mentality” and the killing of unborn children in the evil of abortion. This pattern exists across a broad set of issues, each distinct and different, but there is a fundamental connection, no matter how obscure it may seem. This is why, I believe, the “consistent life ethic” is such an indispensable grace for the Church and all people of good will.

While we often focus on key moral evils, such as abortion and euthanasia, there are other horrors worthy of condemnation and the remedy of justice, one of which is human trafficking, which is a ongoing form of slavery. Human trafficking (a multi-billion dollar industry), is in fact, now recognized as the second largest criminal industry in the world.

There are countless stories of people who experience this evil. One victim, I read of, testified before Congress about the horror of this form of slavery, her name is Rosa, and she was living in Mexico before she was brought into Texas and eventually Florida where she was forced to have sex for money — she now has multiple STDs, scar tissue from forced abortions, as well as addictions to both drugs and alcohol.

Another girl, named Maria, was brought to the United States being told about the “American dream” and her experience of it was being sold to someone’s friends for sex.

The story that disturbed me most was that of a girl named Tatya. After a few months of being coerced into prostitution, she became pregnant. Within seconds of the baby’s birth, one of the traffickers “expertly” cut the umbilical cord with a kitchen knife and took the baby away. After this terrible ordeal, she was sent back to work as a prostitute the very next night.

This issue has become profoundly important to me in ways that it never has, aside from intellectual opposition that I have always had. I’ve never know enough about the issue to have a fervent awareness of the justice that is lacking.

  • 25 percent of all global human trafficking victims are in Texas–the majority in Houston, where I live.
  • 30 percent of all human trafficking tips to the National Rescue Hotline came from Texas.
  • The Department of Justice Human Trafficking Conference identified I-10 as one of the main routes of human traffickers in the United States.
  • Texas and the Southwest border continue to serve as the biggest point of illegal entry into the U.S., largely because traffickers are able to get aliens across without documents.
  • The major points of entry into the United States for human traffickers are in southern and central Texas, southern California, Arizona, and New Mexico.
  • Three main factors that are predicted to contribute to trafficking in Texas: proximity, demographics, large migrant labor force.
  • Houston, in particular, with its proximity to the border and an interstate highway (I-10) make it a popular point for international traffickers.

Over time, I’ve become resigned from the fact Texas leads the nation in capital punishment, which I would love to see abolished from the American legal system. However, to realize, that Texas — the state where the case Roe v. Wade began — is also home to another great injustice, especially in the city where I live is a rude awakening to the metastatic reality of sin, which knows no limits when it conquers human hearts.

Back to the theme of the “seamless garment,” it only reaffirms the point — distinct but interrelated issues. It seems that our failure to reform our nation’s immigration system, particularly border security has helped indirectly perpetuate another evil. Admittedly, learning this has given me some pause. In regard to immigration, I typically fall “center-left” on policy debate in this matter (and most matters). I still think the idea of building a fence is a waste of money. But, in general, cameras and border patrol (which is direly lacking) I once sort of laughed at. I didn’t oppose the end goal, I thought the measures would be ineffective. What if it would save lives? No one’s life story should be anywhere in range of the horrors of the women who’s story I recounted above.

A few other points. There is this tendency in modernity to view morality in terms of a false sense of freedom. I am “free from” coercion and anything that undermines my absolute personal autonomy, not “free to,” say, do as I ought? There is nothing wrong with masturbation, right? Who is getting hurt? To no surprise, the sin of masturbation is deeply associated with pornography. Little might one imagine that their sexual sins, which disrespects the inherent dignity of humanity — both the objects of their sexual pleasure and themselves — is  by the money squandered on such vices assisting a deplorable form of slavery and sense of despair and hopelessness in the lives of many women and children. Yet another connection in the fabric of human activity. Who would have ever thought this possible in a world where an estimated 12% (an ASTOUNDING figure) of the entire world wide web is pornography?

Given the “-isms” that dominate our culture and that of much of the world, these “-isms” often play out in ways that may go undetected to the untrained eye. The idea of being a “pimp” for example is glamorized in American entertainment culture. The first that comes to mind is the show “Pimp My Ride.” It appears that the word “pimp” has come to mean “to make better.” I think most notably consumerism is at play. The women and children victimized by trafficking are no more than “disposable humans.” Sex trafficking is a supply and demand industry; if there is no demand, there is no victims.

There is probably more that can be said than the spontaneous thoughts thrown together here. I find this to be a clear pro-life issue and I implore everyone to pray for an end to this evil.

10 Responses to The Seamless Garment: Human Trafficking

  • Matt McDonald says:

    Eric,

    you make a good point, and one that ought to be a point of sensitivity for those who advocate “open borders”, yet one of importance to all of us.

    I’m a little leery of such a claim:

    25 percent of all global human trafficking victims are in Texas

    I know there are massive numbers of Eastern European women in sexual slavery all over Europe. There are massive numbers of slaves from all over the world in the Middle East both sexual and labor.

    Texas — the state where the case Roe v. Wade began

    Texas strongly opposed this ruling which was IMPOSED on it and the rest of the USA, I think the seat of that gravest of evils is Washington, DC.

  • Donna V. says:

    Good God, I had no idea of the extent of this evil in the US. I have read quite a few stories about the Eastern European women who are kidnapped to work in brothels in Western Europe and about the massive human trafficking that goes on in SE Asia.

    This, not legalized abortion, should be feminism’s number 1 issue.

    Eric, can you provide us with any links to organizations which are fighting this horrific trade and helping the victims?

  • Like Donna, I’d had no idea that human trafficking existed on such a scale in the US. Though is a sense, I suppose it makes sense: There’s simply such a lot of wealth in the US that any sort of vice which can be sold for profit has the US as a prime target. Taking human trafficking to specifically mean taking people across national boarders in order to enslave them, it makes sense you’d usually only do it into comparatively rich countries.

    Perhaps its just an emotional effect, but it’s all the more horrifying to think of such things going on so close to home.

  • Donald R. McClarey says:

    The Texas figure sounds astronomically high. Whatever the figure, of course, this vile trade in humans need to be fought with every law enforement resource available.

  • Matt McDonald says:

    Perhaps the feminists should be focusing as well on the evil which kills prematurely more females than every other cause combined… How about contraception which allows men to make women into sex objects, rather than the co-creators of human life…

  • Matt McDonald says:

    Eric,

    that makes a lot more sense, sounds about right.

    Another thought, it seems to me important to make distinctions between people who agree to pay a “coyote” an exorbitant rate to be smuggled voluntarily, and then are forced to work it off in less than ideal conditions, and a person who is smuggled entirely against their will. I think there is an inherent difference in kind.

  • Foxfier says:

    After visiting Hong Kong, the PI, Thailand and other nations– I find the idea that Texas has 25% of all human trafficking laughable.

    If we re-state it as 25% of all reported, prosecuted human trafficking– I’ll quickly agree.

    Almost every port I hit had ladies from the PI. Most of them had no way to get home– and I don’t mean cash.

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