Habits die hard!

Hidden slaves in US

This news report really makes a disturbing reading!

The existence of a form of neo-slavery in the U.S has been detected by researchers from the University of California, Berkeley’s Human Rights Center and the Washington D.C.-based, anti-slavery group Free the Slaves.

The report, “Hidden Slaves: Forced Labor in the United States”, describes for the first time the nature and scope of modern-day slavery in America. The report further adds that Forced labor occurs in at least 90 cities across the United States, and at any given time, 10,000 or more people are forced to toil in sweat shops, clean homes, labor on farms, or work as prostitutes or strippers.

The following are a few of the cases that have been documented :

  • a Berkeley, Calif., businessman enslaved young girls and women for sex and to work in his restaurant;
  • a Florida employer threatened violence to force hundreds of Mexican and Guatemalan workers to harvest fruit;
  • two couples in Washington, D.C. brought Cameroonian teenagers to the United States with the promise of a better education and then forced them to work 14 hours a day as domestic servants, without pay and under the threat of deportation.

Appalling news indeed!

Victims of forced labor are trafficked into the United States from at least 38 different countries, with China, Mexico and Vietnam topping the list. Some are born in the United States and later held captive, the study adds.

The new study documents how modern slavery operates in the United States. Perpetrators use a range of crimes – fraud, coercion, physical and psychological violence – to hold their victims captive. They confiscate passports and threaten to turn their captives over to the authorities if they refuse to obey. In some cases, perpetrators and their associates threaten or physically attack the families of victims in their home countries.
Victims may be verbally abused, beaten or sexually assaulted by their captors.

Even if victims can escape, they often fear leaving because they do not speak English, are unfamiliar with U.S. currency, and are unsure of how to use local transport. In a strange land, victims can grow dependent on their captors, if only to survive.

Copies of the “Hidden Slaves” report will be available online at:


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2 thoughts on “Habits die hard!

  1. Jonny

    Interesting blog, I’m not sure how i missed this story since i had done a story on the confict. Happy blogging.

  2. Ben

    I think you are right. One neat thing, I’d have never predicted with the internet, is that the sites are staying around, so that people can find them, read them and learn from them. The worst thing about the .edu internet was data rot (a form of link rot) where resources and knowledge went into the vapor every semester.

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