So, all the slaves in the United States have been freed. Not quite. By some estimates, there are more slaves in the world today than ever before.
The 1996 case of Williathe Narcisse or “Little Hope” is one example of modern day slavery. Nine year old Little Hope was brought from Port-au-Prince to Florida to work as a domestic slave. She slept in the garage and was beaten. She received no pay for the work she did. In addition to her cleaning chores, Little Hope also worked for the family as a sex slave.
Until 1993, Firozabad, the glass capital of India, sold children outdoors in a “children’s bazaar.” The children who work in the glass industry endure intense heat and little ventilation. They wear no protective equipment and their burns go untreated. In 1992, India sold two million dollars worth of glassware to the United States.
In April and May of 1995 it was reported that the “slave train” from Babanusa to Wau was carrying civilians captured by the Sudanese Army. Many young boys were forced into being soldiers for the government. John Eibner was a pioneer in the redemption of slaves. Christian Solidarity International, a human rights group based in Switzerland, has done much to help the Sudanese people.
In the Amazon of Brazil, slaves work to make charcoal which is the basic ingredient in pig iron. Recruiters promise a job and steady pay. The slaves in this camp live in unsanitary conditions and receive little medical care. Their wages are low, when they are paid. And the pay becomes even lower when they have deductions for work expenses such as tools, boots and gloves. Pig iron is used in many products here in the United States: autos, appliances, plumbing fixtures, etc.
In 1999, the Department of Justice prosecuted 25 slavery cases. The Mann Act or “The White Slave Traffic Act of 1910” passed in June 1910 made it a felony to participate in interstate or foreign transportation in the sex slave industry. In 1978 the law was updated to define “transportation” and in 1986 an amendment was added. Which begs the question, “Why are we still fighting this problem?”
On October 28, 2000 President Bill Clinton signed the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000. This law was followed up by others in 2003, 2005, 2008 and 2013. An Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP) was set up in 2000. Jean-Robert Cadet, age 4, was sold as a restavec after his mother died. He wrote a book about his harrowing experience and on September 28, 2000 testified before Jesse Helms and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Slaves were photographed working in the brick kilns in China in 2010. Children work beside their parents. The heat is unbearable and working conditions are deplorable.
The Khmer Rouge promised liberation, justice and equality in Cambodia. What the Cambodian’s got was genocide. Their family structure was destroyed. Children were turned against their parents. Women were forced to marry against their will. Buddhist temples were turned into prisons. Schools were turned into headquarters for the military. Schools yards were killing fields.
There are even sites on the internet where you can find a slave. Financial problems and recruiters that are less than honest about the type of work the girls are being hired to do are how most of these girls end up being sex slaves. They do not choose this work–they are forced into it. They do not have access to cell phones or free time that would aid in their escape.
During President Bush’s administration the Innocents Lost Initiative was started to address the problems around sex trafficking of children. The story of modern day slavery is the story of men, women and children of all races from every country in the world.
To read more about modern day slavery I recommend Hidden Slaves Forced Labor in the United States or A Crime So Monstrous: Face-to-Face with Modern Day Slavery.
To stay up to date on the latest news about modern day slavery, to donate or to take action, visit freetheslaves.net, the International Justice Mission, Christian Solidarity International, Dalit Freedom Network, or Anti-Slavery International.
Mississippi flag; photo by Richard Threlkeld on Flickr (noncommercial use permitted with attribution / share alike).
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