Slavery in America


In today’s society we consider our problems to be increasing; gas prices, gun control in the inner cities, the thought of being laid off looms, and the list goes on and on. However, there is one topic that is not mentioned too often, and that is the growing problem of human trafficking all over the world. For those of you who have never heard of human trafficking before it is pretty self-explanatory. Some people come in to where you live take you away, and most likely have you shipped half way around the world to be someone’s servant or if you are a girl most likely a sex slave. Now, we supposedly abolished slavery one hundred and twenty years ago, and that is possibly why this issue has been over looked in the past. According to CQ Researcher, seven hundred and fifty thousand people have been trafficked into the United States over the last ten years.(Masci) Now, since we have that statistic how have we not stopped the people who are bring them into the country? As you can tell I am very passionate about getting rid of this grotesque violation of human rights. In this article, I will elaborate more on human trafficking to give you an idea of how bad this situation is, why they cannot just run away from their captors, and my solution to the problem.

If you have not already guessed human trafficking is a worldwide problem that needs to be stopped. According to SIRS six hundred thousand to eight hundred thousand people are transported across international borders every year.(Human Rights) Those are hundreds of thousands of brothers and sisters torn away from their families to be forced into unpaid labor or a sex slave. Just to give you an idea of how many people are trafficked across each year it is about the same amount as the population of Detroit, Michigan. When young girls are trafficked into other countries they are often used as sex slaves or house keepers. In, 2001, Maria, a Mexican women testified before the House Committee on the barbarism of being a sex slave.(Chen) She was quoted as saying, "If any of the girls refused to be with a customer, we were beaten. If we adamantly refused, the bosses would show us a lesson by raping us brutally. We worked six days a week, twelve hours. Our bodies were sore and swollen. If anyone became pregnant we were forced to have abortions. The cost of the abortion was added to the smuggling debt."(Chen) I do apologize for the harsh language, but I just wanted to get the point across of how bad the situation is. (__Putting an End to Human Trafficking--Vignette__)

Too make matters worse, according to Michelle Chen who was published In These Times magazine after the slaves are brought overseas they have to depend on them to keep them alive, and I will explain why.(Chen) So picture this you are a twelve year old boy or girl just hanging out outside one day when a group of men pick you up throw you in a van and ship you to the other side of the world where you do not know the language and you do not know what anything is. Would you still try to run away? Where would you run too? Who could understand you? Best case scenario you are picked up by the police hassled for not having an I.D. and most likely deported. So if you sit back and consider the options they have they are better off staying with their abuse master. I could not even imagine how hopeless they must feel when they realize there is just about nothing they can do to escape their fate.

The sex trafficking industry is sub-human, they treat the women like dirt and exploit them as much as they can. When authorities perform raids on these illegal brothels they find the women to be beaten and malnourished. Sexual trafficking includes coercing a migrant into a sexual act as a condition of allowing or arranging the migration. Sexual trafficking uses physical coercion, deception and bondage incurred through forced debt. Trafficked women and children, for instance, are often promised work in the domestic or service industry, but instead are usually taken to brothels where their passports and other identification papers are confiscated. They may be beaten or locked up and promised their freedom only after earning their purchase price, as well as their travel and visa costs.

Personally, I believe that we are not making a great enough effort to stop this problem. How do we have so much research on these atrocities, but fail to stop them. We know that they are mainly being shipped out of India, Sudan, and the Ukraine but we still let it happen.(Human Rights) That is why I believe that we as a country are not making a strong enough effort to put this to an end. That is why I believe we should create a task force devoted to stopping these heinous acts of violence. The task force would be in every major country where trafficking is prevalent and near every major port where they are trafficked in from. Then, we would demolish their lair and kill the boss, so the trafficking stops for good. Now I know that is a little drastic, but if we cared as much as Liam Nesson did in the movie Taken then maybe we would be able to make some actual progress in putting a complete end to human trafficking.

Yes, but we have yet to show how this very heinous crime is so prevalent in the United States, let alone in our own back yard of Cook County, Illinois.

When we hear the words "sex trafficking," as Americans we immediately think of women and children overseas who are being forced into the sex trade or who are brought into the United States for the purpose of sexual exploitation. We don't usually think closer to home — Americans trafficked by Americans. But I want you to think about young women and even girls that you have seen late at night when you come home from work or a social event. Maybe you have seen them in the streets in short dresses and spike heels. You turn your heads to look away. We do not look at the faces of these young women and girls who are forced to be out in the street. Maybe we think this is what they want to do or they wouldn't be out there. Maybe it is easier to believe that it is an empowering choice they have than face the harsh reality of child sexual abuse, physical and mental abuse, and the pimps that prey on the young women and girls.

The definition of human trafficking as stated by the Federal Trafficking Victim Protection Act, enacted in 2000 is recruiting, harboring, moving or obtaining a person by force, fraud, or coercion for the purposes of involuntary servitude, debt bondage or sexual exploitation. Persons do not have to be transported internationally to be considered victims of trafficking. The city of Chicago has been labeled a national hub for human trafficking because its large airport, central geographic location, and elaborate transportation infrastructure make it an ideal port of entry. (Peggy A. Montes, 2007)

That is why there is a “Chicago Police Trafficking Team” in place to deal with these issues. Attorney General Lisa Madigan has also pledged a campaign against “Craigslist”. Two hundred and twenty Salvation Army PROMISE task force members, CSEC Institute members, CSEC trafficking training seminar attendees, and community response plan participants, were contacted to assist Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s campaign to combat prostitution by removing erotic ads from Craigslist. (

Not only do they need to deal with the issues of the trafficker, but the trafficked person needs to have adequate resources to rehabilitate themselves to a functional member of society. This is where the Salvation Army comes into play. They have a place called Anne’s House. The Salvation Army PROMISE Program (Partnership To Rescue Our Minors From Sexual Exploitation) ( is pleased to announce the opening of Anne’s House- Illinois’ first long term trauma based residential program for young women and girls who have been impacted by sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. This trauma based program will offer comprehensive services including, but not limited to, individual and group therapy, life skills training, support with academic and vocational goals, social and recreational activities and spiritual guidance.

To understand all aspects of sex trafficking in the United States, you have to open your mind and let go of what you have seen or heard on television. You need to let go of the media's portrayal of the "joys" of street prostitution, and open your eyes to the violence and control the pimps and sex traffickers exercise over their victims, who are mostly girls and young women.

Appropriate candidates for the program are females from the United States, without children in their custody, ages 12 to 21, who are actively being commercially sexually exploited (sex trafficked), are willing to voluntarily enter the program, and willing to abide by program rules and regulations ( All program candidates must be psychiatrically stable and willing to achieve and maintain a drug and alcohol free lifestyle, which for most is the main problem.

These persons feel like they have no other means to make a living, and usually turn back to the “trade” that they have come accustomed to. (Rescue and Restore website) Now that you have some perspective on this subject I am sure you feel as strongly as I do about this subject. If you don’t then you have no heart, and you should be ashamed of yourself. But in all seriousness, the problem is still growing and we need to do more to stop it. You may not think it is a big deal now, but when you’re a parent one day you don’t want it to be your kid on the back of the milk bottle.

Selling Female Slaves. Slaves of Sex Trafficing

By: Micheal Dominguez and Neda Abusumayah, Mary Kasper.

Peggy A. Montes, J. V. (2007, October). The Realities of Human Trafficking in Cook County. Retrieved April 14, 2011, from

Rescue and Restore website. (n.d.). Retrieved from (n.d.). Retrieved from Salvation Army website:

Chen, Michelle. "Slavery in Our Time." In These Times. 21 July 2010. Web. 9 Feb. 2011.
"Human Rights." SIRS Researcher. ProQuest, 1 Jan. 2009. Web. 9 Feb. 2011.
Masci, David. "Human Trafficking and Slavery." CQ Researcher Online. CQ Press, 26 Mar. 2004. Web. 9 Feb. 2011. <>.