Call It Slavery
The abolition of slavery was the great cause of 19th-century humanitarians. In the 21st century, argues a former U.S. ambassador at large on modern day slavery, it needs new champions.
“So you’re going to run the State Department’s trafficking office!” a friend exclaimed when he heard the news. “What qualifications do you have to run a motor pool?” That was back in 2002, and despite a history of involvement in human rights issues as a congressman from the state of Washington, I was almost as much in the dark about human trafficking as my friend. Like most Americans, I assumed that slavery had ended in the 19th century. As I was to learn during the next four years, slavery may be illegal, but it still flourishes around the world, even in the United States. Despite the phenomenal increase in worldwide humanitarian concern, it remains one of the most curiously neglected issues of our time.
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John R. Miller, a public policy scholar at the Wilson Center, was the U.S. ambassador at large on modern day slavery (2004–06) and, as a U.S. representative in Congress from the state of Washington (1985–93), was a member of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus. He is a fellow of the Women and Public Policy Program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and a senior fellow of the Discovery Institute in Seattle.more from this author >>