The Golden Book on Human Trafficking - Entry by Sean Cleary


The dark side of the globalization of information, trade and finance has been the globalization of crime. Illicit trade in arms, drugs, rare animal species and people - which is as old as human society - is now a series of global businesses, involving tens of thousands of intermediaries around the world and billions of dollars in annual profits. Legitimate businesses and banks are entangled in these criminal webs and thousands of public officials - from immigration officials and customs officers to politicians and law enforcement personnel - are bribed to ignore the common good, to ensure that the profits flow.


We humans are a sorry lot. All too often we are driven by greed, fear and other base urges to disregard the norms and violate the principles that are essential for human and social welfare. We pay lip service to the values of the great religions and the Enlightenment, but cast them aside when observance requires sacrifice. Even when not guilty ourselves, we rarely act in defence of the weak, to protect their rights.


Human trafficking is common slavery: Its victims are dealt with as commodities, to be bought, rented and sold for profit, to be managed as chattels while they remain alive and cast onto the dung heap to rot when their value falls below replacement cost. It is a blight on humanity, a denial of that which we claim distinguishes us from animals. Indeed, no animal race prostitutes its own as we have chosen to do. It is a unique perversion.


That the weakest among us, women and children from vulnerable societies, are those most trafficked, is a further indictment. Women define our societies and children constitute the future. Men can sow their seed and move on; women create the stability and provide the nurturing that enables growth. The experience of the child in its early years and in adolescence shapes its view of the world and its later behaviour. We destroy the fabric of society by violating its protectors and its offspring. One cannot conceive of anything more despicable, or more profoundly self-destructive.


All of us - states, honest businesses, non-governmental organizations and every decent human being - must join hands in stamping out this travesty and in bringing to justice all those who profit from this foul trade. It is not enough to stand aside and criticize. As John Donne famously wrote:

"No man is an island, entire of itself...any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind;
and therefore, never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."


Sean Cleary

The Golden Book

Copyright End Human Trafficking Now!



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