America and La. have modern slavery problem
When discussing slavery, most people’s minds wander to the pre-Civil War era in the United States, the early days of Europe and the beginnings of time when slavery was a tragic yet common factor in society and warfare.
It is chilling to know that slavery is alive and well across the world and even in modern America – even in Louisiana. Today, though, society does not refer to the imprisonment of innocent people as slavery; it’s called human trafficking.
Whether for sex or work, people of all ages, races and backgrounds are disappearing, being moved into an underground world that is simultaneously heartbreaking and terrifying. Just recently, the world watched as three women who had been missing for nearly a decade were discovered by a neighbor in a residential Ohio neighborhood. Earlier this week, it was revealed that yet another woman – cognitively disabled with the mental capacity of a 13 year-old – as well as her young daughter were held against their will for more than a year by three other adults. The mother and daughter were forced to act as maids for the trio, turn over all disability checks from the mentally disabled mother and were threatened with beatings and pet snakes and pit bulls if they did not comply.
Chillingly, more people across this nation are being held against their will without anyone but their captor(s) knowing of their existence.
Just in January, federal prosecutors unveiled a sex trafficking case based between North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida and Georgia – right down the road here in the South. The victims in the case, all women and children, were all taken from Mexico with the purpose of serving warped American residents.
Could it happen in Louisiana? It already does. Between April 2009 and Nov. 2012, the Rescue and Restore Coalition of Louisiana identified up to 140 victims of human trafficking in the state. The youngest sex trafficking victim in Baton Rouge was identified as being six years old. Considering that Louisiana has approximately 200,000 homeless children and youth, and homeless individuals are often targeted as trafficking victims, it’s scary to think how that number could grow. Nationally, according to a comment Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, gave to the LA Times, its estimated that between 100,000-300,000 child victims of human trafficking are taken from Louisiana.
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