Saturday, February 16, 2008

Trafficking in the USA

From the Daily O'Collegian:

Last month, a Romanian couple living in New York City were accused of enslaving a teenage baby sitter and others, forcing them at gunpoint and by rape and assault to become beggars on the streets.

Each beggar would work upward of 12 hours a day and would make about $400, all of which went to the Romanian couple.

They had been doing this as early as 2004, according to a report filed by FBI Special Agent Evan Nicholas.

In 2006, the Department of Health and Human Services provided government assistance to 234 foreign victims of trafficking. Also, the Department of Homeland Security issued 729 visas to survivors of human trafficking.

“The United States has estimated 800,000 people a year are trafficked internationally. That’s not only sexual exploitation, but all other forms of trafficking into labor exploitation, as well. But that really is an estimate; it can’t be said to be an accurate figure, because again, the difficulties of this hidden crime make it impossible to know actually how many are being trafficked,” Mary Cunneen said.

Cunneen, formerly the director of Anti-Slavery International, also says that the “Trafficking in Persons Report” is flawed in one major way. “…the report does not deal with trafficking in the United States, and there are serious problems with trafficking in the United States, and perhaps the report should also look at what the American government is doing and if their policies are being implemented, if they’re looking at other countries.”

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