The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Slavery still commonplace

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Deception, kidnapping, abuse and forced prostitution. These are words that send chills up our spines, but for those individuals who have survived or who are currently still being held prisoner, these words cannot even begin to convey the horrors they have experienced.

This is true for the 600,000 to 800,000 people trafficked both worldwide and in their own individual countries, according to the U.S. Department of State.

This number includes approximately 14,500 to 17,500 people who are annually brought into the United States.

These enslaved individuals become the perfect product because they can be used over and over again day after day, week after week.

Yes, this is actually happening in our nation, in our region, in our neighborhoods.

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According to the Trafficking in Persons Report by the U.S. Department of State for 2004, 70 percent of trafficked individuals are women and more than 50 percent are children.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reports these traffickers often are able to recruit unsuspecting individuals through fake modeling agencies, advertisements, mail-order bride catalogues and acquaintances.

According to Amnesty International USA, the victims are removed from areas familiar to them and their passports and identification documents are taken.

This restricts where these enslaved individuals can go.

Earlier this week, I watched the Lifetime mini-series “Human Trafficking.”

This mini-series portrayed several women and children, young mothers, schoolgirls and tourists, kidnapped from Eastern Europe and the Philippines.

While the program itself is fictional, the actual subject isn’t.

The very notion of this despicable act nauseates me. How can a fellow human hand over another and get paid for it?

Europol estimates the human trafficking industry is now “worth several billion dollars a year.”

The U.S. Department of State reported $82 million was used last year, “in anti-trafficking assistance our nation provided to foreign governments and non-government organizations.”

This is a good start, but that is all it is – a start.

How dare we allow this to happen.

Shame on the nations of the world, shame on our own nation and shame on us as individuals.

In today’s day and age, how can we look the other way?

Politics aside, how can we hand over government money for programs that senators and congressmen claim is vital to their states, when we have 10-year-old children being sold and raped on our soil?

This is unacceptable to me. Explain to these women and children, who face horrors we cannot even begin to imagine on a daily basis, that we cannot send more aid to fight this war on human trafficking.

If we can track down international terrorists, then we can track down sex traffickers.

We need to bring more awareness to this issue. We need to come together as a global community, as fellow human beings and put a stop to this.

A character in the mini-series made a statement that has stayed with me.

He had said drug dealers can sell their product only once, and they need to restock, but sex traffickers can sell their product multiple times a day. Thus, these enslaved individuals become the perfect product because they can be used over and over again, day after day, week after week.

Imagine yourself being kidnapped or sold, taken from everything and everyone that you have known, taken to a foreign land and, without knowing why, forced to become a sex slave.

You are in a crowded, filthy room full of mattresses, women and children. You are completely cut off from the outside world, except for your fellow sufferers and those who have imprisoned you.

Crying and screams of terror are constant, as are ruthless beatings and threats from customers and your captives alike.

The door opens and your name is called.

You reluctantly follow your captive as he or she sells you to your next customer.

The voice slams the door shut and leads you to your next customer.

Your living hell continues.

Werlein is a senior print journalism major and a copy editor of The Spectator.

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Slavery still commonplace