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The Victims of Modern Day Slavery

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Most people believe that slavery was gone when the Thirteenth Amendment was passed in 1865. What don’t know is that there are still many people being used for forced labor and sex illegally in the United States and across the world today. According to the Polaris project in 2007, 27 million was the number of people being forced in this modern day slavery, with 80 percent being women and children, and with an average age of 12 to 14 years. Of the female slave victims, 70 percent are used for sexual exploitation, leaving the other 30 percent for forced labor. One million children are exploited by the global sex trade on a yearly basis.

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When sociologists speak of stratification, they are referring to social inequality and social ranking, thus, stresses the differences among people. Is an institutionalized pattern of inequality in which social categories ranked on the basis of their access to scarce resources. Is the hierarchy arrangement and establishment of social categories that evolve into social group together with statuses and their corresponding roles. Is a system whereby people rank and evaluate each other as superior or inferior and, on the basis of such evaluations, unequally rewarded one another with wealth, authority, power and prestige. One result of each differentiation is the creation of a number of levels within society. The Polaris project stated that the profit of this industry is an astounding $32 billion a year. The victims of these crimes do not receive any of the income, but they are forced to work long hours with no days off.

The victims of the sex industry are forced to take multiple clients, sometimes reaching more than 30 per day. American people contribute to this by paying for the services this industry provides. The profit from each person can range from $13,000 to $67,000 per year, making the captors very wealthy since they have numerous victims working for them. There are multiple organizations, like the FBI, working to put an end to this horrifying business, but many victims have legal documentation to cross the U.S. border, which makes it difficult to detect who is being trafficked. Also, the people responsible for these crimes are extremely intelligent and wealthy, so they are able to pay off local authorities to aid in their business ventures. This happens most in countries less fortunate than the United States, where the law enforcement officials do not make very much money.

The California government states that southern California has the highest number of known victims coming from Mexico. Legitimate businesses are used as a camouflage to aid in the illegal profits. The term “happy ending” refers directly to the massage parlors that participate in the illegal sexual exploitation of these victims. Local authorities have been able to shut down a few of these businesses and provide help to the victims. Women and children who are forced into the commercial sex industry often suffer from sexually transmitted diseases, such as Chlamydia, HIV, and AIDS. These diseases are left untreated and are transmitted even further. Other health complications include problems with the reproductive system, pelvic injuries, rectal injuries, and urinary problems, which result from endless sexual abuse. There have also been reports of women becoming pregnant and are unable to receive prenatal care. The babies born in this condition often face several health complications and are taken from the mother, and are used to force the women to comply.

Forced labor workers suffer from chronic back pain, hearing, cardiovascular, and respiratory problems from the endless days and hours of hard labor in sweatshops, dangerous agriculture, or construction zones. Almost all victims of modern day slavery are malnourished, underweight, and are lacking dental care. They also suffer the effects of being beaten by their captors. Children who grow up with this lifestyle are so malnourished that they will never grow enough to reach their full height, and they also suffer mental conditions as a result of this.

Although the physical problems that these victims endure may heal, the mental and emotional problems will most likely linger for the rest of their lives. It will be a constant battle for them to move forward and live their lives as they had before their enslavement. Many will live fearing that they will be found by the people who wronged them and force them back into the lifestyle. Victims may also suffer from depression, mood swings, and post traumatic stress from their experiences. Many of the women and children feel shame and guilt for the sexual acts committed, and have a hard time fitting in with the normal population. Children miss out on the opportunity of an education, and do not have the opportunity to succeed as children should.

There may never be a solution to save everyone who is wronged by modern day slavery, but by educating the public of this cruelty we may be able to help a handful of victims. This business that is being run illegally not only affects foreigners from other countries, but Americans as well. We must be aware of the risks because our own women and children are being targeted and could be forced into this horrendous industry.   

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