On 26 July 1833 the Abolition of Slavery Bill passed its third reading in the House of Commons. Slavery in the British colonies would be finally abolished. Three days later its key architect the William Wilberforce died. He devoted his entire public life to the pursuit of the ethical goal that all persons be treated as free and no person should be the financial chattel of another.
This great feat, achieved by Wilberforce through heroic determination ignoring abuse by the elites, who wanted to retain the practice and its financial benefits, established an honourable precedent throughout the world. The very idea that a human being should become a slave for the financial gain of a mercenary or trafficker was no longer acceptable in the British Commonwealth.
This is one reason why recent Home Office figures indicating that 52 illegal immigrants each day are caught trying to get into the UK show that not only is today's government, but also previous administrations, failing to deal with desperate crisis of illegal immigration but it is also a failure to uphold those laudable principles established over 200 years ago.
There is no doubt that the figures are simply the tip of the iceberg of those trying to get into Britain. A visit to the Calais camps provides sufficient evidence of the demand. What is also true is that no one can actually tell us how many illegal immigrants manage to get through.
What we do know is that the desperate men, women and children are the modern chattels of the modern multi billion-dollar slave trade in people trafficking. This business according to UN research is worth $15billion dollars a year and involves the control or forced labour of 20million persons.
Traffickers feed off the poor, desperate and afraid and pedal the Dick Wittington line that "the streets of London are paved with gold". We all know that this is not the case, but to those who seek the opportunity to earn £50 a day on the black market, as was recently reported, that paltry sum is a fortune.
The human misery isn't limited to the those being trafficked or exploited with high "travel and administration" fees. The revenue from this vile trade is also used to fuel terrorist organisations such as the Islamic State, Boko Haram and Al-Qaeda as these organisations have resorted to raising funds through human trafficking since the West has clamped down on their other sources of funding in the post 9/11 world.
Not only has the government failed to deal with the desperate crisis of illegal immigration it lacks the willpower to admonish those that are aiding and abetting trafficking. Those who advocate an amnesty for illegal immigrants already here may do so for honourable reasons but sadly they play into the hands of the criminals and gangsters who rely upon such soft soaped weakness.
Amnesties serve as nothing more than a Traffickers Charter and devalue the rule of law. They help to keep profits in the hands of the wicked and encourage others to follow suit.
It's high time that the government sends out a clear, robust and determined message to those criminals involved in people trafficking. Anyone in the UK who facilitates this increasing detrimental burden on humanity, must be arrested, face trial and if they are not lawfully permitted in the UK, they must be deported back to their country of origin immediately. The intransigence of governments from where many of these criminals originate from must be ignored and any public official implicated in this vile trade should be prosecuted and have their assets frozen.
Wilberforce's close friend and ally for 50 years, Thomas Clarkson, wrote a masterful Essay on Slavery and Commerce, which concluded:
"For if liberty is only adventitious right; if men are no means superior to brutes; if cruelty is to be highly esteemed; if murder is to be strictly honourable and Christianity a lie then it is evident that African slavery maybe pursued without either the remorse of conscience or the imputation of a crime.
But if the contrary be true which reason must immediately evince. It is evident that there is no custom established amongst men was ever more impious. Since it is contrary to reason, justice, nature, the principle of law and government, the whole doctrine in short of natural religion and the revealed voice of God"
The ethical case is beautifully set out in those words that every human being deserves a life free of slavery, has the right to be free and to ensure it remains the case we must harshly deal with the traffickers, be hard hearted in defence of the rule of law, strive assiduously and with determination to improve the living conditions in countries from where people flee through free and open trade, promotion of democracy. We will never rid the world of evil people wishing to enslave another human being; however in Europe we can at least economically pull countries in Africa up by the boot straps. We can empower these nations by opening Europe up for free trade, by removing such high EU external trade tariffs that prevent many African countries from building their own successful economies. Prosperity will aid in giving a better education to these countries and help in the elimination of people trafficking, as many people would pursue wealth through legitimate means.Suggest a correction