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Slavery Still Exists

Slavery in America? Unthinkable, isn't it? Especially since we fought a civil war to eliminate precisely that reality. But unfortunately it's true. There is a flourishing slave trade around the world, which is found even here. Forcing people into slavery is the third largest source of profit for organized crime, trailing slightly only behind drugs and arms sales. Victims most often are desperately poor people who are tricked, kidnapped or sold by family members. They are forced into domestic servitude or work in sweatshops. Many women, even young girls, are sold into prostitution. Worldwide, it is estimated that 40 million people are trapped in modern day slavery. Women and girls account for about 75% of all victims of modern slavery. In the past, authorities have estimated that 14,500 to 17,500 victims are trafficked into the United States each year through established black-market routes. (This figure does not include victims who are trafficked within the country each year.) Imagine what it is like to hear about a job being available in another country, then being sold to or kidnapped by these traffickers in human misery who take people where they don't know the language, the customs, the laws, or even where they are. Imagine arriving in a strange foreign place and having the people you trusted confiscate your legal documents, charge you fees you can never pay off, and threaten to harm your family back home if you do not do what they tell you. Hard as it is to believe or accept, there is a consumer demand in this country for such people, particularly working in illegal sweatshops or as domestics. For example, Peruvians were rescued from slavery in Long Island, NY due to the joint efforts of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, local law enforcement and Catholic Charities. In New Jersey several trafficking rings were discovered and broken with the help of the church since so many of these people are Catholic and turn to priests for help.

It is hard for me to understand how people can be so cruel to another person. How is it possible to treat them as mere property, using them only for profit without any concern for their pain and misery? Perhaps people who have no sense of their own dignity and no understanding that God sees them as precious, in other words, people who can make no sense out of their own lives, cannot see any value in other people either. Whatever the reason, God weeps at this horrible inhumanity, and I cannot help but think that the lowest places in hell are reserved for those who knowingly cause such pain and misery.


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