January 11, 2010, was a day of awareness for human trafficking. Statistics show that 50,000 people a year are trafficked into the United States, part of a larger estimated 27 million people who are being held by traffickers. 27 million is more than the population of 18 states.
What is trafficking? Trafficking is defined by the U.N. as “a person who is recruited to be controlled and held captive for exploitation…” Trafficking is estimated to be a nine billion dollar industry. People are recruited believing they will be taken to a new country and given legitimate work only to find themselves in a strange land, working for no pay, and literally held captive by their “employers.”
As a single mother in Mexico, Esperanza experienced the loss of a child due to starvation and decided that she must leave her children with her family and go to Los Angeles for a job as a seamstress. Following what she believed to be a legitimate job lead, Esperanza was sold into slavery, which separated her from her children and prevented her from sending home the money that she went to earn. Esperanza was able to leave through the help of an agency that recognized the place that was holding her captive as a potential place for trafficking. Through their investigations Esperanza was able to get the help she needed to get out.
We can help Esperanza and others like her by clicking on the link below. It is a link to site called “Chain Store Reaction” and it gives you the chance to check out some of the places you may shop at and see how well they are doing at ensuring that their goods don’t come from trafficked labor.
It is a simple action and does not completely cover the depth of such a tragic reality, but it gives us a pathway for matching our values to our choices and raises our voices so those in power know we will not support goods made from slavery….Peace Liz