News / USA

    US Fights Human Slavery in Major Cities

    People from Latin America, Asia trafficked to the US for sex, labor

    A study by The Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center finds nearly 83 percent of suspected human trafficking incidents involve the sex trade.
    A study by The Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center finds nearly 83 percent of suspected human trafficking incidents involve the sex trade.

    Multimedia

    In almost every major city in the United States, advocates say victims of human slavery are exploited everyday.

    "Human trafficking is a very serious problem in the United States," says Bradley Myles of the Polaris Project, an organization that fights human trafficking.

    According to Myles, some of the victims are forced to work in the homes of the wealthy and at restaurants. Many others, especially women, are forced into prostitution.



    "We know from our very own eyes that it's happening. We're not kind of hearing it third hand. We've been inside those places. We work with those women."

    The Polaris Project operates a human trafficking hotline. Calls come in from around the country.

    "So we're getting calls from Texas. We're getting calls from California. We're getting calls from New York, Florida and DC is one of those top five cities where we're getting calls," says Myles.

    Deborah Sigmund, founder of the advocacy group, Innocents at Risk, says most of the victims of human trafficking come from economically depressed countries and are lured to the U.S. with promises of a better life.

    "They want to think that they can come to America and have a great job so it's very easy to fool them," she says.

    According to the experts, some of the victims are forced to sell sex from brothels disguised as massage parlors.

    Tim Whittman of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is an expert on human trafficking in the U.S.

    "The number one foreign country is Mexico," says Tim Whittman, an expert on human trafficking with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). "Approximately 20 percent of our cases involve victims from Mexico."

    The nation's capital is not immune to the problem. In Washington, the Polaris Project sees sex trafficking victims who are U.S. citizens, and women from South Korea, China and Latin America.

    While some of their clients are middle class professionals from the community at large, many brothels will only accept a narrow clientele to make it difficult for law enforcement to catch them.

    "If a person for example from Korea is brought in to the United States under false pretenses and then forced into prostitution very much that place where the prostitution occurs is within the Korean community in the United States," says the FBI's Whittman.

    A study by The Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center finds nearly 83 percent of suspected human trafficking incidents involve sex trafficking. Advocates say other types of human slavery include people being forced to work as domestic servants and in agriculture. The FBI says the smugglers often threaten their victims and make it difficult for them to pay off their debts.

    "Commonly, it's a threat against their family back in their home country and it's used to put that person in a position where they feel compelled to provide labor or service in the United States," says Whitman. "A common threat is if you leave we're going to report you to immigration and you'll be arrested, you'll be kept in prison for a long time."

    In reality, there is help. Victims of human trafficking can sometimes be granted a special visa that allows them to stay in the U.S. for up to four years. During that time, they may apply for permanent residency.

    But with threats, a language barrier and fear of the legal system, victims often do not or are unable to seek help.

    You May Like

    Video Obama Remembers Fallen Troops for Memorial Day

    President urges Americans this holiday weekend to 'take a moment and offer a silent word of prayer or public word of thanks' to country's veterans

    Upsurge of Migratory Traffic Across Sahara From West to North Africa

    A report by the International Organization for Migration finds more than 60,000 migrants have transited through the Agadez region of Niger between February and April

    UN Blocks Access to Journalist Advocacy Group

    United Nations has rejected bid from nonprofit journalist advocacy group that wanted 'consultative status,' ranking that would have given them greater access to UN meetings

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora