Slavery Does Exist

You walk into your favorite restaurant and sit at a table.  Your waiter is of South East Asian descent and so is the rest of the staff.  You do not think this is peculiar because many waiters seem to be of minority descent.  Little did you know but these South East Asian people are modern day slaves working to pay off their bondage and lower-than minimum wage and in sub-human conditions.
This particular scenario is fictional; however, this situation is very real.
Slavery did not end with the 13th amendment, Slavery Abolition Act, or the end of the slave trade.  Instead, it just evolved and went “underground.”  In America, well over 100,000 people live enslaved and more than 50,000 people are transported to the U.S. annually.  Over 700,000 people are transported, sold or forced across borders as slaves to work as manual laborers, domestic servants, prostitutes, etc.
These numbers are alarming, especially in this day and age when people, in America, are essentially “equal” and when institutions such as the U.N. and Human Rights Watch exist.  In 2000, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) was created to try and combat the trafficking of humans, especially in regards to sex, slavery and involuntary servitude. However, many countries who meet the minimum standards of TVPA are also in violation of its criteria.
And, even the U.S. falls victim to violation of the TVPA.  But who is to blame?  The people who traffic the people or those who claim they will combat it, but in reality turn their head because this industry benefits the country as a whole?  In essence, the victims or the economy, which one is more valuable?  The world, or at least its governments, seems to have spoken: the world’s economy is more valuable.  After all, it is a $7 billion industry!


About Haley Behre

I graduated from Syracuse University in December 2011 with majors in newspaper journalism and women and gender studies. Using these majors, I aspire to become a journalist who writes about human rights issues. I have held internships at the Syracuse New Times, Dash Media PR Firm, Syracuse Post-Standard and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. I also had an internship at the Not For Sale Campaign Syracuse chapter, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating human trafficking. I was born in Seoul, Korea on September 30, 1990 and moved to the United States before I was one year old. When I was 8, my family and I moved to Norwich, England for three years. While I was here I was immersed into a new culture and got to experience many things other children my age do not get to. Over the three years, I visited Ireland, France and the Netherlands several times, and Belgium, Wales and Sweden once. In the winter of 2010, I got an amazing opportunity to visit Kenya for a month. This was by far the single most eye-opening experience of my life thus far. The natural beauty of the landscape and its people do not compare to anything I have seen. I currently intern for the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press in the hopes of getting a full-time job at a newspaper or non-profit after.
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