Human Trafficking and the United States

When one thinks of slavery, he or she probably thinks back to the American Civil War and the enslavement of African Americans. Even Googling “slavery and the United States” will churn out a list of results referring to this time period. However, there are more slaves in the world today than there have ever been in the history of the world. So who are they? Where are they? And what is the United States doing to help find and free these individuals?

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One man set out on a journey to answer these questions and his findings were astonishing. In an interview with, Ben Skinner, author of “A Crime So Monstrous: Face to Face with Modern-Day Slavery,” elaborated about his experience posing as a “buyer.” He explains that even after 300 international treaties have been made in hopes of abolishing slavery worldwide, 27 million people today are being “forced to work, held through fraud, under threat of violence, for no pay beyond subsistence.

In 2013 an article was published on the Washington Post including a map showing the estimated 29.8 million slaves and where in the world they live. According to this map, 60,000 of those enslaved persons are being held captive within our own borders of the United States.

An article published in 2014 by CNN Money released a report covering slave labor in the U.S., particularly focusing on the “how” question. Though the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was not mentioned within the article, it did provide a list of actions businesses and border officials should implement in order to put a halt to these injustices.

FOX News published an article written by U.S. Representative Diane Black, who helped pass the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2014, which amended the Trafficking Victims Protections Reauthorization Act of 2005. The bill emphasizes increased funding for specialized training programs for law enforcement officers, first responders, health care officials, child welfare officials, juvenile justice personnel, prosecutors and judicial personnel.

If you look for this information, it can be easily found…but what if it never occurred to you to look? Something to focus on in the future is to make this issue more saturated in our vocabulary. Simply sharing information with your friends can plant seeds that have the potential to spawn action.


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