Slavery on the Rise Across
the U.S. imports Third World populations through mass immigration,
slavery inside the country is increasing, according to testimony
before a Senate committee last month.
Leaders of victim advocacy groups and two U.S. attorneys who
have prosecuted human smugglers told a Senate Judiciary subcommittee
on human rights that "modern day slavery" is alive
and well in the U.S. and spreading across the country.
Because of lax immigration policies and poor border security,
the people responsible for the crime, corruption, and slavery
that plague so many Third World countries are able to bring
their practices and habits into the U.S.
Witnesses said that as many as 17,000 immigrants are brought
into the U.S. each year to be used as slaves, and some believe
the number could be as high as 50,000. Many of the victims
are children forced by smugglers into pornography and prostitution.
Each year only a fraction of those forced into slavery are
found and freed, said witnesses.
"It seems like we're just touching the tip of the iceberg,"
said Rep. John Cornyn, R-TX. "Clearly we need to be doing
more than we're doing now."
Federal law enforcement task forces designed to investigate
human trafficking are already operating in immigrant-heavy
smuggling centers in Philadelphia, Atlanta, Phoenix, and Tampa,
but slavery is so rampant that Cornyn is pressing to create
another federal task force in Texas because of its border
In one recent high-profile smuggling case in Texas, a gang
of Latin aliens known as the "Molina organization"
lured scores of young women from Honduras to the Forth Worth
area. Authorities said the women were transported along dangerous
smuggling routes across Mexico and the U.S. border for fees
up to $10,000 each. After they arrived, they were forced into
prostitution to pay off their smuggling fees.
In April 1999, seven foreigners were sentenced to jail for
enslaving dozens of Mexican women and girls, some as young
as 14, in brothels in Florida and the Carolinas. In 2000,
a Nigerian couple was convicted of slavery and other offenses
for holding a young immigrant girl against her will as a domestic
servant in their home in New York City. In 2002, CBS News
reported that three Mexican-born citrus contractors in Florida
were sentenced to prison for enslaving as many as 700 illegal
aliens at different times as farm laborers.
U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton of San Antonio testified that
slavery is such an "abhorrent offense" that it constitutes
a top priority for the Justice Department.
Since 2001, federal prosecutors have charged 110 people with
trafficking offenses. Seventy seven of them have been convicted.
U.S. Attorney Michael Shelby said investigations are difficult.
"The real difficulty is identifying the victims. They
often don't speak the language, and they are far from home,"