Shackled in the Free World

Victims are smuggled into the United States from all over the world in devastating numbers, but perhaps even more shocking is the ever-growing number of U.S. citizens being bought and sold on their native soil.

 

BY TEAL DAY, MAY 3, 2021


I know I am supposed to keep my opinion to myself when writing about the news, but this just hits too heavy for me to keep a straight face. Everyone loves to bring up slavery. Unfortunately, with the jabs at the confederate flag and demands for reparations for sins long past, I believe they are gravely missing the point.


Do not misunderstand me. Slavery is abysmal. No human being should ever have to live a life under the rule of another, especially with threats of physical harm to the slave or their loved ones. Not the Blacks, not the Irish, not the Israelites, nor anyone else. Nobody.


What has happened in our human history is tragic and unjustified and I am proud that we fought tooth and nail to eradicate slavery once and for all! Except we didn’t eradicate slavery. Slavery is alive and well all over the world, and in the United States of America, it is thriving.


What is Human Trafficking?

Human trafficking, or modern-day slavery, is defined in this 2021 U.S.News article as “holding, recruiting, luring or transporting a person to engage in sexual activity or labor by threatening to harm them.”


Debt bondage, domestic servitude, forced child labor, adult sex trafficking, and child sex trafficking are the very real threats of slavery today.


And you want to know the real kicker? The majority of victims on U.S. soil are trafficked by someone they know and love. You read that correctly. An estimated 90 percent of child trafficking victims are exploited by family or close family friends. The very people who are there to love and nurture these children are handing them over to strangers again and again for cold hard cash.


In many areas, we're seeing trafficking by a parent or loved one on the rise.
-Eliza Bleu

Smuggled into Slavery

It is estimated that more than 17,000 people who are brought into the United State every year are forced into slave labor. Shandra Woworuntu, a human trafficking survivor, told her story to BBC News in March of 2016.


Working as an analyst and trader at an international bank in Indonesia put Shandra's degree in finance to good use until her country was hit by financial crises and she lost her job. Having a 3-year-old daughter at home, she knew she had to act fast. Sandra had heard about a promising job opportunity overseas working in the hospitality industry. But when she arrived in the land of the free, she was met with shackles. Only instead of lead, she was chained with violent physical threats to herself and her family, the stripping of her passport and papers, and demand that she sell her body to strangers to pay off her impossible debt.


Shandra’s story has a happy ending, though it took a long, gruesome road to get there. Many others are not so fortunate.


And just a few hours after my arrival in the US, I was forced to have sex.
-Shandra Woworuntu

Too Close to Home

Victims are smuggled into the United States from all over the world in devastating numbers, but perhaps even more shocking is the ever-growing number of U.S. citizens being bought and sold on their native soil.


Lisa Michelle was a victim of child sex trafficking right in her own backyard. In an interview with Texas Standard in September of 2020, Lisa emphasized how no one in her life ever suspected foul play. Even with bruises on her body, her acting out in school, and letting her grades slip, she seemed to somehow fall between the cracks.


Today, Lisa is the founder and executive director of No Strings Attached, aiding in the recovery of sexually exploited and abused women.

Anyone who thinks child sexual abuse is not happening in their neighborhood is “already behind."
-Lisa Michelle

Yes, it is Grim. But All Is Not Lost

Despite an ongoing social media battle and the dilution of real honest-to-goodness information by conspiracies such as QAnon, the fight to bring human trafficking to light is gaining speed and legislation.


Organizations such as No Strings Attached in San Antonio and The Refuge in Austin seek to bring healing to those who have had their lives held captive in the world of human commodity. Through legislation, rehabilitation, and a whole lot of love and support from their community, survivors of human trafficking and child trafficking stand a chance at a normal, fulfilling, and fruitful life.


We should be the first country in the world to prioritize ending slavery once and for all.
-Eliza Bleu

We, as a nation, have a long way to go to eradicate slavery, but if we come together and fight, we stand a mighty good chance.


After all, if freedom is not worth fighting for, what on Earth is?

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Teal Day, an adventurer aficionado, has traveled the world and lived quite the incredible gypsy life. She now shares her stories and insights as a means to inspire the masses to tap into their own ability to have fun and enjoy each and every moment of this winding road.


Teal Day is an author at Truly Free Society.


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