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Can You Imagine the Modern World Without Slavery?

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Can you imagine the modern world without slavery?

Human trafficking, the 21st century version of slavery, is a bigger problem than most people realize. People are bought and sold for forced labor, sexual exploitation and as organ sources. Children and women in third-world countries make especially easy targets. Out of the millions enslaved, only a few are able to find their way out. the rest are killed or die of disease and abuse.

The term, human trafficking, has come to mean more than simply taking someone across an international border. According to new international laws the definition includes anyone who is held as a slave. "We think of trafficking as this huge network of organized crime, which it can be, but it can also just be a couple that wanted a nanny but didn't want to pay for it," says Kathleen Morris, who heads the Washington state Anti-Trafficking Response Network

Today there are international, federal and state laws combating trafficking. Lawmakers have to stay a step ahead of the criminals. This gives law enforcement personal the legal right to handle situations as they arise.

There is another side of the fight which begins with you and me. One thing we can do is raise awareness. Many different avenues are already set up: social networks, like facebook, tweeter, school clubs, peer to peer and so on. To most people trafficking exists somewhere far off, in a parallel damnation. We can raise awareness in the general public that victims are not only in "red districts". It could be someone cleaning your home, or watching you neighbor's kids, or picking tomatoes on the farm outside of town. Identifying a victim is the first step. A good resource on the subject is the website of the United States Department of State. It lists a number of red flags that could alert you to a potential trafficking victim. These people are poor, have controlled living conditions, missing identity documents, under age in prostitution, or show signs of physical or mental abuse. Report your suspicions to the police by calling 911, contact the Department of Justice at 1-888-428-7581, or the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-3737-888.

Victims of trafficking are not criminals and are eligible for benefits and immigration assistance even though involved in illegal activity. Also it is important to help victims on the recovery path. They need a place to stay and legitimate work. If you are a business owner hire them or advocate for them in front of your employer. It may be not be easy to bring someone with a shady background into your home or work place; but you can start volunteering your time and recourses at a community center or place of worship.

It has now been 150 years since the addition of the 13th amendment to the Constitution and the abolition of slavery in the United States. This amendment



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