News broke last week of a French woman who is being tried in court for twice defrauding two gay couples by contracting to serve as a surrogate for them—only to then falsely tell them that the children had died during birth and then to go on and sell the children to other couples. By the time she was arrested, she had also been in contact with three other couples presumably planning similar arrangements.

If any one doubts that commercial surrogacy is a modern form of human trafficking—where children are being bought and sold—this case should serve as proof positive that it is, in fact, just that. There’s no way around it.

The United Nations defines trafficking in persons as:

the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.

Coercion? Check. Fraud? Check. Abuse of power? Check. Could it be any clearer?!

Around the world, journalists, political leaders, human rights advocates, clergy, civic leaders, and ordinary citizens are working together to put an end to human trafficking—and rightly so. We applaud these efforts and join forces with them. We just hope that they will recognize the many vast and egregious forms of the practice include commercial surrogacy, as well.

Image by imagensevangelicas via flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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Christopher White, Ramsey Institute Project Director