July 24, 2017

Something’s Happening Here … (Update: Yep)

Filed under: Immigration,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:23 am

… but what it is, isn’t exactly clear.

The term “human trafficking” made its way into a horribly tragic illegal-immigrant smuggling story:

At least nine people died after being crammed into a sweltering tractor-trailer found parked outside a Walmart in the midsummer Texas heat, victims of what authorities said on Sunday was an immigrant-smuggling attempt gone wrong.

The driver was arrested, and nearly 20 others rescued from the rig were hospitalized in dire condition, many with extreme dehydration and heatstroke, officials said.

“We’re looking at a human-trafficking crime,” said San Antonio Police Chief William McManus, calling it “a horrific tragedy.”

Well, first of all “an immigrant-smuggling attempt” is already “wrong,” and the deaths turned that wrongful act into a tragedy.

But if this is an attempt to smuggle people into the country voluntarily, Chief McManus’s description of this as a human-trafficking crime conflicts with the dictionary definition:

the illegal practice of procuring or trading in human beings for the purpose of prostitution, forced labor, or other forms of exploitation.

While we may eventually find out otherwise, the purpose of the enterprise appears to have been to take people who wanted to be smuggled into the US … into the US. It seems likely they were “exploited” into paying money to get smuggled in. But it’s not at all clear, unless the chief knows something we don’t and won’t yet tell us, that any of the things which fit the definition of “human trafficking” or “exploitation” are present.

If they’re not, are we looking at an attempt to broaden or muddy the definition of a now-clearly understood term?


UPDATE, July 24: That didn’t take long

Outrageous: NBC Blames ‘Current Political Climate’ for Human Trafficking Deaths

In other words, “It’s Trump’s fault.”

NBC provided no evidence that this tragedy involves “human trafficking” as the dictionary defines it.

A participant at a vigil for the victims quoted by NBC directly indicated that this is NOT “human trafficking,” as those involved (children or present parents excluded, obviously) had voluntarily gone on board:

They’re willing to risk themselves and their willing to risk their lives for their kids and for their family members just so they can have a better future.


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