Saturday, September 25, 2004
( 6:26 AM )
Land of the Free
It is 40 years since the Civil Rights Act was passed. As of this year it is conservatively estimated that there are 10,000 forced laborers in the U.S. You heard me right.
The study estimates that 47 percent of the victims are prostitutes, 27 percent domestic workers, 10 percent agricultural workers, and 5 percent sweatshop/factory workers. They are defrauded, physically and emotionally abused, and, given their illegal status, language barriers, and financial dependence on their captors, don't see legal recourse as an option. They come from at least 38 countries and tend to live in California, New York and other states with large immigrant communities.
Kevin Bales, president of Free the Slaves told the San Francisco Chronicle that police departments must do more to catch perpetrators:
"There are 16,000 murders in the U.S. every year. Certainly every police department has a homicide division or authority. There are at least this many cases of trafficking...Yet there are no police departments that have a trafficking division or officers who are trained in investigating or prosecuting crimes like this."
Not only are there millions of hungry people in our country, not only are the working poor the ones who have to prop up our society, and not only do people suffer and die each day because they don't have health care - we also continue to traffic in slaves. Is this what your America should look like? Not mine.