Throughout human history, people have pondered over the existence of evil.
Unfortunately, we read and hear about examples of utterly horrifying evil all the time. One of those evils is human trafficking.
An example is the recent headlines on the arrest of Keith Raniere, the leader of the group NXIVM. He is accused of running a sex cult disguised as a self-help program. On its website the organization claims that it is “a community guided by humanitarian principles that seek to empower people and answer important questions about what it means to be human.”
Evidently, their interpretation of “what it means to be human” involved luring young women seeking successful careers to become slaves. They were reportedly forced to sleep with Raniere, who was known as “Vanguard” within the organization; perform menial tasks for their masters; and most horrifying of all, submit to branding near their pelvis area with Keith Raniere’s initials. If that isn’t enough, prominent people are alleged to be involved in this organization, among them Emiliano Salinas, the son of the former President of Mexico, Carlos Salinas; Allison Mack, Emmy-Award winning actress of the television series Smallville; and Clare Bronfman, an heiress to the Seagram fortune.
Throughout history, evil can appear beneficial and even beautiful in form. Raniere is a handsome, suave businessman whose past clients include business magnate Richard Branson, actress Linda Evans, and Antonia Novello, former Surgeon General of the Unites States. Raniere appealed to young women desperate to get ahead and impressionable enough to believe his promises. As stated on NXIVM’s website, the purpose of the organization was to promote “the philosophical and practical foundations necessary to acquire and build the skills for success.”
The question now is not only will Raniere be convicted, but also what will happen to the thousands of women who invested their hopes, dreams and money to become members of his sex cult posing as a self-help program? These victims, like all victims of human trafficking, will need a great deal of support to cope with their lives in the aftermath of their encounter with this recent manifestation of evil.