Rotchana Cheunchujit was in bed when it happened. “We’re here to help you,” said someone in Thai.
Then she heard the axe. Federal agents broke down the front door, then stormed in. Soon, she was out on the sidewalk with her roommates, dazed.
“We were in shock,” she says. “We didn’t know what was going on.” Hours later, Cheunchujit would be taken to jail. But in reality, she had just been set free.
Cheunchujit and 71 others were modern-day slaves in El Monte, California, held captive in a compound of apartment buildings that served as a garment factory. The workers there had been lured to the United States from Thailand by captors who tempted them with promises of money and prosperity, then forced them to toil around the clock to “earn” their freedom. On August 2, 1995, federal agents, aided by local police, state officials and the Thai Community Development Center, raided the Los Angeles-area complex. The conditions they discovered were horrifying—and the workers’ ordeal went on to inspire local and federal anti-trafficking laws and garment industry reforms.
READ THE FULL SMITHSONIAN STORY HERE
The USA National Hotline – 1 (888) 373-7888 – as operated by Polaris, has reported that it is receiving an extremely high number of calls related to child sex trafficking. Because of this, callers with tips or victims calling for help, are experiencing a longer wait time when calling. Polaris is doing its best to keep up with the calls, but the volume of calls they are receiving is unprecedented in the United States.
There has been a lot of inaccurate information about child sex trafficking posted on social media here in the USA. These social media posts are making it all the more difficult for those of us who are trying to educate the public on trafficking and modern slavery. To help address this, please check out this editorial: Child Sex Trafficking Risks are Increasing because of Covid-19. Why?. Also when you tap the link, you will see a five-minute video produced by U.S. Homeland Security regarding why it takes so long and is so difficult for prosecutors to bring traffickers to justice.
Chapman College Professor and Film Maker Kelly Granados with Presenters. Kelly’s Film :26sec.
James Nash, Opal Singletary and inland Empire Rotarians at Riverside County Sheriffs Department Human Traffic Conference. Opal Singletary host and moderator.
There's a new detective in town and she works for a task force that protects children from online predators.
Meet Willow, the first Electronic Detection Dog in Southern California working alongside law enforcement.
The White House has officially announced President Trump's intent to appoint Dr. Sandra Morgan, the Director of the Global Center for Women and Justice, as a Member of the Public-Private Partnership Advisory Council to End Human Trafficking.
Before they were sold to the same brothel, Sayeda and Anjali were typical teenagers, growing up in similar circumstances a few hundred miles apart: Sayeda in the city of Khulna in Bangladesh, and Anjali in Siliguri in West Bengal, India.
They nurtured the aspirations of teenagers everywhere—to get out from under their parents, to find love, to start living out their dreams. Both were naive about the world and couldn’t have imagined the cruelties it had in store.
Raised in a tiny two-room house in a squalid neighborhood, Sayeda spent much of her childhood on her own. Her mother would rise early an leave for the day to clean shops in New Market, one of Khulna’s commercial districts. Sayeda’s father was a cycle-rickshaw driver, ferrying passengers for a pittance. A struggling student, Sayeda dropped out of school before her teens, despite her mother’s admonishments that trouble would befall her.
Outgoing and free-spirited, Sayeda was quick to smile and made friends easily. What she loved most was to dance. When her parents were out, she would watch dance sequences from Hindi and Bengali movies on television, copying the moves. Sometimes, when her mother caught her, she would scold Sayeda. “Our neighbors didn’t like that she was always singing and dancing,” her mother told me.
Sayeda was beautiful, with a delicately chiseled face and almond-shaped eyes, and liked wearing makeup. She began to help out at beauty salons, learning about hairstyles, skin treatments, and cosmetics. Worried about the attention she was attracting from boys, her parents married her off when she was 13. Child marriage is common though illegal in much of South Asia. The husband Sayeda’s parents chose was abusive, and she went back to her family ...