[Stop-traffic] listserve submission

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Subject: [Stop-traffic] listserve submission
From: Emma Reinhardt (emma@anti-slavery.org)
Date: Tue Nov 28 2000 - 16:52:06 EST


Below & attached- an oped from the Boston Globe, 11/27/00 on Slavery in
the US.
Thank you!

________________________________________________________

-The Boston Globe-
Monday, November 27, 2000

Emma Dorothy Reinhardt
Charles Jacobs

A Secret Slave Trade Survives in US

Slaves have returned to these shores. We don’t mean people with bad
jobs, low pay, and nasty bosses. We mean slaves – people forced to work
for no money, under the threat of violence. According to the CIA, 50,000
people are trafficked in to the US each year. There are over 100,000
slaves here now.

Slaves in America are women, children and men who are tempted,
trafficked, and then trapped in the snares of a growing modern day slave
trade. They save and borrow for a down payment on the smuggler’s
$50,000 charge -- for the fraudulent documents and the journey by plane,
boat, or truck. They come from every continent and are brought for
different uses.

Most sex slaves are from Asia; most domestic slaves are from Africa and
the Middle East; most field laborers are from South America. They are
lured by a well-dressed business man promising a respectable job, or
encouraged by a trusted relative. They arrive here, are stripped of all
documents, held captive, and forced to work -- to pay off their debts,
to prevent their threatened families back home from being harmed, to
save themselves from the streets deemed more dangerous even than the
heinous conditions in which their masters keep them.

The slave masters are smiling UN diplomats or shady illegal smugglers-
the publicly respected professionals or the professionally skilled
traffickers. And under the masters’ roofs, with no English, no papers,
no legal status, and with a huge debt, the vulnerable victims are made
more vulnerable.

They are enslaved, here in the “land of the free”.

Americans may faintly recall the famous cases: Quincy, Massachusetts,
1992: a Boston University student was found with an under-fed, abused,
enslaved woman from Sri Lanka. El Monte, California, 1995: dozens of
Thais were discovered behind barbed wire, forced to make clothing sold
in Filene’s. New York City, 1997: one hundred deaf Mexicans sold
trinkets in the subways for masters who beat them when they came home
below quota.

Thousands of cases don’t make the headlines: In New York: a child
welfare counselor beat her Nigerian slave until the neighbors called the
police. In Maryland: a Brazilian woman in bondage had hot soup poured
on her chest, and her hair yanked from her head because her work
displeased her masters - a couple who kept her captive for twenty
years. Los Angeles, April, 2000: a two-year old Thai boy was found
sedated in the airport, used as a decoy by sex slave traffickers to
convey a “family image” to customs. Outside Detroit, a thirteen-year
old girl from Cameroon, raped and beaten repeatedly with a high-heeled
shoe, escaped after years of forced labor.

Just a few months ago, a math teacher in Denver was caught using Mexican
boys as sex slaves. And just last month, in New York City, an Ivy
League asylum lawyer was found $13.5 million dollars richer having
worked with Chinese smugglers to guide in to slavery more than 6,000
people from China over the last seven years.

Cases of slavery slash across the US, from sea to shining sea. And
while an older generation of abolitionists depended on those bold enough
to defy evil, modern day freedom fighters depend on the vigilant and
vocal. Many cases of slavery have been discovered by ordinary community
members - nurses in Quincy, street vendors in New York City, neighbors
in Los Angeles have all been heroes in revealing and redeeming former
slaves.

Responding to reports of the growing epidemic of human bondage here,
Congress has just passed, and the President has just signed new
anti-slavery legislation: The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000
offers legal protection and welfare provision to those who have been
trafficked in to this country, and to those who then help to free them.
This bill enables the victims to tell their stories publicly and
prosecute their masters without fear of instant deportation. This bill
also protects the emancipators, the heroes.

This is our country - and slavery is pervasive in our backyards. We are
all involved: we purchase products made by slaves, we share offices with
those foul enough to lure others into slavery, and we live next-door to
those locked in to servitude.

Slavery in this country was abolished in 1865, yet it's back with us.
Americans must act again to eradicate this evil thought long dead. Let
us be vigilant and let us be vocal. Let us be abolitionists again.

---
Emma Dorothy Reinhardt is managing director and Charles Jacobs is
president of the American Anti-Slavery Group in Boston.

-- Emma Dorothy Reinhardt, Managing Director American Anti-Slavery Group: www.anti-slavery.org 198 Tremont St. #421, Boston, MA 02116 Tel. 800.884.0719, Fax. 208.692.2850



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