There are 27 million slaves in the world today. 17,000 slaves are bought into the United States each year. And at least 100,000 American minors fall victim to domestic commercial sex trafficking.
Like slavery in the past, modern day slavery is lucrative. In 2007, slave traders made more money than Google, Nike, and Starbucks combined. According to US Health and Human Services1, it is the second largest and fastest growing criminal industry worldwide. But there are three notable differences between modern day slavery and slavery in our history:
1. Slaves are cheap today. A slave in 1850 cost an equivalent of $40,000, but a girl or boy can be bought for less than $100 in many countries today.
2. Modern day slavery targets women and children. Slaves taken from Africa were mainly men. Today, 70% of slaves are female and 50% are children.
3. More psychological trauma is used to control slaves today. For instance, rape is commonly used to instill a message of shame and ownership. Children are often targeted for they are easily conditioned.
California Against Slavery (CAS) is a non-profit group organized by Californians appalled by the injustice of modern day slavery in our state and around the world. CAS’s goal is to put an initiative on the November California Ballot to strengthen current human trafficking laws and increase victims’ rights. CAS needs to collect 600,000 signatures by June 15, 2010. This goal is ambitious but absolutely possible if each of us get involved. Find out more by visiting www.CaliforniaAgainstSlavery.org