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7/6/03 - TRAFFICKING: MODERN-DAY SLAVERY - 2003-07-07


Slavery and bondage continue in the twenty-first century. Millions of people around the world suffer in situations of forced labor and sexual exploitation. According to a recent U.S. government report, between eight-hundred thousand and nine-hundred thousand people are trafficked across international borders annually. Millions more are trafficked internally within many countries.

One place where human trafficking is a major problem is Asia. Large numbers of women and children are lured and trapped each year by criminal organizations. Uzma was trafficked from South Asia to a Middle Eastern country to work as a domestic. Her employer took her papers, beat her regularly, and gave her little food. Male relatives of the employer began sexually abusing her and then took her to hotels and forced her to have sex with up to ten men over the course of a few days. She escaped. Police picked Uzma up and ordered her employer to send her back to her country. The employer sent Uzma back, but only after three more days of prostituting her.

In Bangkok, Thailand, organized criminal syndicates find big money in the trafficking of people, said United Nations spokeswoman Emily Brooker:

“Children are increasingly being treated as a commodity by these large organized crime networks and the profits are significant.”

The Thai government has passed legislation to strengthen child protection. But it needs to do more in enforcing its laws. And the same is true for a number of other governments. In a recent report, the U.S. State Department listed fifteen countries that were not making significant efforts to fight trafficking.

The suffering will not end until all countries not only pass, but also enforce laws that will protect men, women, and children from the underworld of human trafficking.

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