Monday, January 10, 2011
Whose hands picked the beans for cup of java you enjoyed today? Global Horizons Manpower, Inc. is an international labor company that brings agricultural workers to America from Thailand. GHM came under indictment last year when it was discovered that their practices include giving Thai nationals the "opportunity" to mortgage their land for the fee needed to secure high-paying America jobs, and upon arrival to the U.S., had their passports confiscated and forced to work for minimal or pay, long hours, and with threat of economic, legal or even physical violence if they sought to escape. American companies who used these "employees" include Kaua'i Coffee and Maui Pineapple Farms.
This is modern slavery. It's real. It's pandemic. It's nearby. As we celebrate the life of America's clearest voice for freedom in our time, Martin Luther King, Jr., we need to ask, what are we doing about it?
Over 26 million people are estimated to be enslaved worldwide today. Estimates from the U.S. State Department indicate that this year between 15,000 and 50,000 people will be kidnaped, tricked, or bought from family members in third world countries (sometimes from our own streets) and enslaved for labor or sex in America.
Slavery is a North Central Conference issue.
In November 2010, 29 American Somalians were arrested in Minneapolis (home base for the Somali Outlaws, Somali Mafia and Lady Outlaws gangs). These gangs fulfilled their mission statement for 10 years before being caught. Their mission was to "identify, recruit and obtain girls 14 and under for American prostitution." One of the victims, a high school student found beaten by authorities, reported being frequently raped by her gang member owners and shipped between three states for their profit. Minnesota ranks 10 in the US for incidents of slavery.
A Chinese girl was promised work by a restaurant owner, but when she arrived her passport was confiscated, family threatened, and she lived a life of servitude and abuse in Ames, Iowa. 200 cases of suspected human trafficking were reported in Wisconsin in 2010. Illinois generates the fifth largest amount of calls to the U.S. Human Trafficking hotline (888-3737-888).
Join Freedom Sunday via http://www.freedomsunday.org/.
Join "Not For Sale" via http://www.notforsalecampaign.org/