- More than 27 million live as slaves in 21st Century?
- There are more slaves today than were seized from Africa in four centuries of slave trade.
- At least 14,500 slaves are trafficked into the US each year, with many predicting tens of thousands more than that.
- Slaves go for as little as $5 in India and you can secure one for a mere $3,000 in the U.S.
Most slaves are young women and children - those who are more easily abused and forced to do the bidding of others through fear, intimidation, bribery, and abuse.
Don't think that slaves are not in our midst, as this recent story in the NY Times shows:
Americans tend to associate “modern slavery” with illiterate girls in India or Cambodia. Yet there I was the other day, interviewing a college graduate who says she spent three years terrorized by pimps in a brothel in Midtown Manhattan.Pray and work to end slavery. What can you do?
Those who think that commercial sex in this country is invariably voluntary — and especially men who pay for sex — should listen to her story. The men buying her services all mistakenly assumed that she was working of her own volition, she says.
Yumi Li (a nickname) grew up in a Korean area of northeastern China. After university, she became an accountant, but, restless and ambitious, she yearned to go abroad.
So she accepted an offer from a female jobs agent to be smuggled to New York and take up a job using her accounting skills and paying $5,000 a month. Yumi’s relatives had to sign documents pledging their homes as collateral if she did not pay back the $50,000 smugglers’ fee from her earnings.
Yumi set off for America with a fake South Korean passport. On arrival in New York, however, Yumi was ordered to work in a brothel.
“When they first mentioned prostitution, I thought I would go crazy,” Yumi told me. “I was thinking, ‘how can this happen to someone like me who is college-educated?’ ” Her voice trailed off, and she added: “I wanted to die.”
- Talk to your political representatives about the issue.
- Donate to reputable charities and support reputable NGOs fighting human trafficking.
- Educate yourself about the issue.
- Help raise awareness by talking about it.
- Report any suspected abuse of children or adults.
- Don't buy materials made in sweat shops.