Let me get this straight. Over 140 years ago the 13th Amendment to the Constitution legally abolished the slavery of my ancestors and my people. And today, according to your editorial ("Human trafficking: A modern-day form of slavery," June 6), some people (mainly young girls) in America are still being sold into slavery, albeit sexual slavery rather than servitude on a plantation.

Yet the Maryland legislature dared to kill a measure that would have enabled victims of this loathsome commerce to sue the perpetrators for damages? Do the lawmakers of this former slave state regard the 13 Amendment as null and void? Or maybe human rights and freedoms are not so high on their legislative agenda. At least not so far as the rights of women (often girls) are concerned.

Someone should remind those Maryland lawmakers that the essence and purpose of law is justice, and that when human rights are violated, and the victims of violation are not even lawfully afforded means of compensation, then justice dies. Moreover, I would like to recommend that legislators who cannot understand this go into some other line of work where they are less likely to harm the common good.

Robert Birt, Baltimore