Slavery still haunts this country, including instances here in Kansas City.
That was clear in The Kansas City Star's five-day series, "Human Trafficking in America."
The series, which ended Thursday, exposed the horrors of contemporary indentured servitude. It must be a call to action, for Congress, the president, state and local governments, police forces and every individual who opposes human rights abuses.
While the United States points fingers globally at nations for failing to do enough to end human trafficking, our own poorly enforced laws and cumbersome bureaucracy often mean America does worse in preventing and dealing with the practices than many of the nations it criticizes.
The series showed that while this issue is clearly international in scope, it's also very local. The largest suspected human trafficking ring ever uncovered by U.S. law enforcement was based in Kansas City.
For almost a decade, three companies and 12 accused human traffickers allegedly took advantage of a guest worker visa program that is easy to defraud.
It's hard to grasp that in 2009 actual slaves were cleaning Kansas City hotel rooms, working in area restaurants, serving as housecleaners and being forced into prostitution.
Some attempt to "blame the victim," arguing that these slaves were trapped while trying to illegally enter this country. The tragedy of human bondage in modern America though cannot be accepted for any individual, regardless of status. Fighting illegal immigration is a problem. Eliminating slavery is a moral imperative.
And while it's vile in any nation, it is more reprehensible here. This nation, unlike any other in the history of the world, was formed to honor the self-evident truth that "All men are created equal."
This nation outlawed slavery after the Civil War.
To read the complete editorial, visit The Kansas City Star.