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Slavery Never Ended, It Just Got a New Name

Those who live in America are well aware of the history of slavery– how it shaped the country economically and socially into what it is today. Yet, slavery never ended. This may have been highlighted by the slave trade in Libya where African migrants and refugees have been sold in inhumane conditions by their captors. As surprising as it may sound, this is not unusual. Slavery is still very active, and not just in countries that seem very far away, but in America today. 

Slavery has been defined as “the state of a person who is a chattel of another” and there is one topic today that relates to this. Human trafficking is an issue in America, with people being kidnapped, enslaved, smuggled, forced to work in inhumane conditions and with little to no pay. Many people who find themselves in human trafficking tend to find themselves in sex work, are abused or beaten, and are in forced labor despite 71% of immigrants entering the United States legally.

This can further be tied back to slavery by identifying that people of color make up a majority of victims. In fact, 77% of victims in America, were people of color. Unfortunately enough, 50% of these victims are also women or children. These victims are immigrants, runaways, or youth who find themselves seduced by traffickers after being isolated, alone, helpless, with no support. Thankfully, organizations such as the Polaris Project urge for people to contact them about escaping and getting help while simultaneously providing awareness and relief for victims.

Besides human trafficking, there are also other ways slavery has continued. An extremely unfortunate case is the one of  Alex Tizon, whose parents had a slave gifted to them from Manila and kept her in secret, treating her inhumanely, with no pay and as inferior to them in every single way, with their “slave” dying without ever living her life freely and happily. Only after Alex Tizon’s death, did he allow the news of his family’s shameful “secret” to come out in a book. The shocker? 1999 was when this woman first came to live in the “Land of the Free” as a slave.

Human trafficking is an issue in America that has been addressed by the media multiple times, but little legislation has been passed on it. People are suffering-victims, families, and communities-, organized crime is benefiting greatly from it, and there has been no activism, no federal action. Cultures are continuing to view people as products, items to buy and sell, all feeding into the mindset of wanting to be rich. Pay attention, advocate for the voiceless, and save a life.

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Mia Boccher
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