How You Can Help Protect Victims of Human Trafficking by Voting in the Next …
Marina* was recruited from Ukraine with the promise of a well-paying job and free housing in the United States. But upon her arrival, she found herself in a nightmare. Her traffickers took away her passport, told her that she owed them a debt and forced her to work. She cleaned houses during the day and offices at night. On the weekends, she cooked and cleaned for her traffickers. They paid her only $100 a month for working more than 16 hours a day, seven days a week. Marina’s traffickers used gang rape, physical abuse and threats to make her submit. They pulled her hair so hard that she bled and then pushed her down a staircase. They told her they would drown her in the ocean if they caught her trying to run away, and that if she ever left the apartment or called the police, she would be arrested and deported. They also threatened that if she ever escaped, they would traffic her 8-year-old daughter and force her into prostitution.
Marina’s story is not unique. The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that there are approximately 14,500 to 17,500 human trafficking victims in this country. The numbers are more staggering globally, with an estimated 27 million human trafficking victims worldwide. Eleven percent of these victims are trafficked into the commercial sex industry, while the other 89 percent are, like Marina, forced into labor.
On March 15, as part of his efforts to prevent human trafficking, President Obama convened the annual Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who chaired the event, made it clear that the Obama administration remains committed to preventing human trafficking. She stated that human trafficking is an “affront to our most fundamental values” that affects “men, women and children toil[ing] in bondage.” Her statement echoed those of President Obama, who recently said that, from those forced into “labor and debt bondage to [those] forced [into] commercial sexual exploitation and involuntary domestic servitude,” the victims of “this ongoing global tragedy are men, women
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