Human trafficking.

*I have to write a speech for my communications class, and it’s actually on human trafficking. This is the first part of my speech, the “attention grabber.”

In 1999, a young girl was smuggled into the United States from a Haitian orphanage using phony documentation. She was used as a domestic servant in Miami, where she was forced to work up to fifteen hours a day, seven days a week. She was never allowed to go to school, never paid, occasionally beaten and raped, and subjected to other inhumane treatment. She suffered for almost six years, before she finally managed to escape in 2005. Justice was finally served for the girl this March, when three of her captors were convicted.

According the FBI, two million people are trafficked worldwide every year. An estimated eighteen thousand out of those two million cases occur in the United States. The State Department believes that there are more slaves in America today than there were at the height of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. It’s sad but true. People are beaten, starved, and forced to work as prostitutes or take physically strenuous jobs with little or no pay. Eight in ten events are sex trafficking, and one in ten events are labor trafficking.

You may be wondering how such a thing is possible. There are no shortages of victims for the smugglers. Very seldom are people physically forced into this modern day slave trade. They are simply tricked. They are often promised a better life in a new country. People are eager for higher paying jobs in distant countries. The victims are often the most vulnerable in a society: children who have run away from home, women who have little or no education and immigrants who are afraid of deportation if they speak up. For many, there is little or no hope of escape.

It strikes close to home, as well. Knoxville, Tennessee is 343.8 miles from Montgomery, Alabama. That’s only five and a half hours away. On September 23, 2011, a man in Knoxville pleaded guilty to transporting an individual across state lines to engage in prostitution on August 27, 2010. Selvin Salvador Perdomo picked up women in the Atlanta area, typically an illegal immigrant of Hispanic descent, and brought her back to Knoxville. In Knoxville, Perdomo would drive the female to various residences in the area to engage her in prostitution. He charged individuals $30 for 15 minutes with the female. The woman was typically forced to work seven nights a week before Perdomo brought her back to Atlanta to trade her out for another woman.

*This is only the first part of my speech. Terrible, isn’t it? All of the statistics came from the FBI website, and the story of Perdomo came from the Knoxville News-Sentine.

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