Would have missed this editorial in the New York Daily News, if not for the invaluable New Advent:
Some problems are more important than politics. Human trafficking should be one of them. As Secretary of State Clinton has said, “If this issue doesn’t demand zealous advocacy, it’s hard to figure out what does.”
In fact, just this week, a new State Department report estimates that some 21 million people around the world are victimized by the horrific practice. [. . .]
All the more surprising, then, that the Obama administration has blocked funding to a highly effective service provider to trafficking victims just because it does not provide abortion-related services.
For years, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ well-regarded office of Migration and Refugee Services has helped lead the charge against human trafficking. The global reach of the Catholic Church makes MRS well positioned to serve victims of this international affliction. Through its top-rated Anti-Trafficking Services Program, MRS has helped human-trafficking victims from some 64 countries, providing immediate assistance wherever they’re suffering.
Yet the administration placed abortion politics ahead of this important work. In May 2011, the federal Department of Health and Human Services decided its human trafficking grant-making process would prioritize those who would provide “family planning services and the full range of legally permissible gynecological and obstetric care.”
Translation: Unless you offer abortion and contraception, you’re not welcome. Meaning the Catholic service provider — whose model program has received some $15 million in federal funds since 2006 — did not receive any of the $4.5 million in HHS funding for trafficking victims this year.
The result? More trafficking victims will suffer. According to the Polaris Project, which operates the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, those victims live in all 50 states and Washington , and are often the most vulnerable among us, including runaways, undocumented immigrants and the homeless.
Catholics who seek to serve these vulnerable groups are answering the gospel call to welcome everyone and to treat all with dignity. These same beliefs also root the Catholic view that we should protect life at every stage.
Some contend that Catholics are simply trying to impose their beliefs regarding abortion and contraception on others. Those who make this argument particularly ignore the context here: When abortion or contraception is provided to trafficking victims who remain under the control of those who exploit them, it’s the trafficker who benefits, continuing to exploit his victim without interruption.
Read the whole excellent thing. Pass it around — particularly during the next two weeks!