National view: Trafficking is a worldwide horror that’s hard to avoidIn January, MSNBC.com posted a report of its investigation into a slavery network emanating from Eastern Europe. Every year, it said, about 200,000 women and girls are smuggled out of impoverished former Soviet countries and sent to the Middle East, Western Europe and the United States, where they’re held captive.
In January, MSNBC.com posted a report of its investigation into a slavery network emanating from Eastern Europe. Every year, it said, about 200,000 women and girls are smuggled out of impoverished former Soviet countries and sent to the Middle East, Western Europe and the United States, where they’re held captive.
In Haiti, UNICEF reported thousands of children were illegally trafficked out of the country after the devastating earthquakes two years ago. Selling orphaned children as slaves is a common problem after natural disasters.
“Modern-day slavery is an even bigger problem than it was during the years of legalized slave trade from Africa to the Americas,” said Lucia Mann, the daughter of a woman who was held as a sex slave in South Africa in the 1940s.
A former journalist, Mann created the Modern-Day Slave Reporting Centre and is the author of “Rise Above Hate & Anger,” a slightly fictionalized version of her family’s story. She was born in British colonial South Africa after World War II and lives in Canada.
“There is nowhere in the world now where slavery is legal, and yet more than 27 million people are held captive as forced laborers or sex slaves,” Mann said. “That’s more than twice the number enslaved during 400 years of trans-Atlantic trading. … If there is no money to be made from enslaving people, it will end.”
Many slaves today are forced into prostitution while others are used as unpaid laborers to manufacture goods bought in the United States, she said.
“It’s almost impossible to buy clothes or goods anymore without inadvertently supporting the slave trade,” she said.
Human trafficking has become the second-fastest-growing criminal industry worldwide behind drug trafficking, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. It’s a $32 billion industry, and half of those trafficked are children. Half of the billions spent come from industrialized nations, according to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center.
Last year marked the century-and-a-half anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. On Sept. 22, 1862, President Lincoln set the date of freedom for the nation’s
3 million slaves.
But slavery did not die.
“The opening statement of the Declaration of Independence is, ‘We believe these truths to be self-
evident: that all men are created equal with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,’ ” Mann said. “Almost 100 years later, in 1865, the 13th Amendment extended this belief to ‘Negroes.’ To this day, involuntary servitude is outlawed, and yet, it still exists.”
Ginny Grimsley is the national print campaign manager for News and Experts, a firm in Wesley Chapel, Fla.