In a month during which we might dwell upon all the things for which we're thankful - family, health and prosperity - perhaps it's also good to think of others - both abroad as well as in our own country - who don't have the same rights and privileges as we do.
December is Universal Human Rights Month - a time to think - and act - about those who don't have the same rights that we do.
And one of the worst human rights abuses of all is human trafficking.
Just a few months ago, police in Iowa and Nebraska uncovered a human trafficking ring in which girls as young as 15 were forced into working as exotic dancers - and even worse, prostitutes. Apparently, some of the girls, who were runaways, sought protection from people who drew them into a fate worse than destitution and homelessness.
Tragically, this is the sort of crime for which society is responsible.
Anyone who knows of something this horrible happening has a moral obligation to contact the closest authorities immediately. When it comes to children this young, there's no such thing as "It's none of my business." It's all of our business. And it's necessary for all of us to act to combat such hideous crimes.
In other parts of the world today, other human rights abuses are occurring. Following are just a few examples:
n Health aid workers murdered in Pakistan for trying to save people's lives by distributing polio vaccine.
n Young girls murdered in Afghanistan because they were trying to attend school.
n Young girls held in virtual slavery by Chinese factory owners, producing cheap products for American consumers.
n Over 100 people killed by a bomb dropped from a Syrian plane as they were waiting in line to buy bread.
Yes, human rights abuses occur here at home as well as around the world.
We can help change things, though.
One of course is to report the human rights abuses we see.
Another is to support organizations that work tirelessly to prevent human rights abuses. One such organization is Doctors Without Borders.
Learn more at www2.doctorswithoutborders.org