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Street Children

Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

Poverty drives the unsuspecting poor into the hands of traffickers

Published reports & articles from 2000 to 2025                             

The United States of America (USA)

The US has the largest and most technologically powerful economy in the world, with a per capita GDP of $48,000. In this market-oriented economy, private individuals and business firms make most of the decisions, and the federal and state governments buy needed goods and services predominantly in the private marketplace.

The onrush of technology largely explains the gradual development of a "two-tier labor market" in which those at the bottom lack the education and the professional/technical skills of those at the top and, more and more, fail to get comparable pay raises, health insurance coverage, and other benefits.

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: USA

Since 1975, practically all the gains in household income have gone to the top 20% of households.

Long-term problems include inadequate investment in economic infrastructure, rapidly rising medical and pension costs of an aging population, sizable trade and budget deficits, and stagnation of family income in the lower economic groups.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency estimates that 50,000 people are trafficked into or transited through the U.S.A. annually as sex slaves, domestics, garment, and agricultural slaves.

The United States is a destination country for thousands of men, women, and children trafficked largely from Mexico and East Asia, as well as countries in South Asia, Central America, Africa, and Europe, for the purposes of sexual and labor exploitation. Three-quarters of all foreign adult victims identified during the Fiscal Year (FY) 2008 were victims of trafficking for forced labor. Some trafficking victims, responding to fraudulent offers of employment in the United States, migrate willingly—legally and illegally—and are subsequently subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude or debt bondage at work sites or in commercial sex. An unknown number of American citizens and legal residents are trafficked within the country, primarily for sexual servitude.

The U.S. Government (USG) in 2008 continued to advance the goal of eradicating human trafficking in the United States. This coordinated effort includes several federal agencies and approximately $23 million in FY 2008 for domestic programs to boost anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts, identify and protect victims of trafficking, and raise awareness of trafficking as a means of preventing new incidents. – Adapted from U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June, 2009   Check out a later country report here and possibly a full TIP Report here



CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in the USA.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Human Trafficking are of particular interest to you.  Would you like to write about Forced-Labor?  Debt Bondage? Prostitution? Forced Begging? Child Soldiers? Sale of Organs? etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to include precursors of trafficking such as poverty and hunger. There is a lot to the subject of Trafficking.  Scan other countries as well.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.

HELP for Victims

Anti-Human Trafficking Resources - 888-3737-888

Homeland Security

[accessed 8 January 2011]

National Human Trafficking Resource Center - NHTRC

[accessed 24 February 2016]

VICTIMS - If you are a victim, or believe you might be a victim, of human trafficking, seek help. The toll-free National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline is available to answer calls in over 170 languages from anywhere in the country, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year.

Call for help. Call with questions - Any time - Any language - 888-3737-888

Call 911 if you are experiencing an emergency



Gov't Effort to Stem Human Trafficking Helps Very Few

Editor Pueng Vongs, a journalism fellow in Child and Family Policy of the University of Maryland-Foundation for Child Development, Commentary, Pacific News Service PNS, Dec 16, 2004

[accessed 23 February 2015]

[accessed 29 June 2017]

But what the ads don't mention is, in order to take advantage of these benefits, victims must first agree to cooperate in the criminal Investigations of their abusers. This is not a viable option for most.  Those who cooperate may face retaliation from their exploiters or risk harm to their loved ones in their homelands. For example, a Thai domestic worker who has agreed to testify against her abuser may want to bring her two children from Thailand to safety before the abuser is released from jail. He often threatened to have them killed if she were to ever seek help.  Victims who come forward must also go through the arduous task of proving themselves survivors of "a severe form of trafficking." And they must demonstrate they would face extreme hardship if returned to their home country.

How an eastern Iowa teen prostitution, human trafficking ring took root

Jennifer Hemmingsen, The Gazette, April 20, 2008

[accessed 9 January 2011]

In the basement of an ordinary-looking Williamsburg home, the 13-year-old girl was given a choice. Either she would have sex with two men nearly twice her age or she would be given back to her kidnapper.  Already in the week since Demont Bowie told the suburban Minneapolis girl she belonged to him, he'd beaten and abused her, starved her and deprived her of sleep. He traded her body to his friends and even a mechanic. When Demont told her to do something to someone, she did. There was no refusing. He'd said he'd kill her, kill her family, if she tried to leave. - htcp

Feds charge three Kansas City-area companies with labor trafficking

Kansas City Business Journal, May 27, 2009

[accessed 8 January 2011]

“This RICO indictment alleges an extensive and profitable criminal enterprise in which hundreds of illegal aliens were employed at hotels and other businesses across the country,” Whitworth said in the release. “The defendants allegedly used false information to acquire fraudulent work visas for these foreign nationals. Many of their employees were allegedly victims of human trafficking who were coerced to work in violation of the terms of their visa without proper pay and under the threat of deportation. The defendants also required them to reside together in crowded, substandard and overpriced apartments.”   Many of the workers were employed at hotels in the Kansas City area and in Branson, Mo., Whitworth said.

Child maids now being exported to US

Associated Press AP, Dec-28-2008

[accessed 12  August 2014]

[accessed 29 June 2017]

[scroll down]

Shyima was 10 when a wealthy Egyptian couple brought her from a poor village in northern Egypt to work in their California home. She awoke before dawn and often worked past midnight to iron their clothes, mop the marble floors and dust the family's crystal. She earned $45 a month working up to 20 hours a day. She had no breaks during the day and no days off.

Once behind the walls of gated communities like this one, these children never go to school. Unbeknownst to their neighbors, they live as modern-day slaves, just like Shyima, whose story is pieced together through court records, police transcripts and interviews.

Shyima cried when she found out she was going to America in 2000. Her father, a bricklayer, had fallen ill a few years earlier, so her mother found a maid recruiter, signed a contract effectively leasing her daughter to the couple for 10 years and told Shyima to be strong.

She arrived at Los Angeles International Airport on Aug. 3, 2000, according to court documents. The family brought her back to their spacious five-bedroom, two-story home, decorated in the style of a Tuscan villa with a fountain of two angels spouting water through a conch. She was told to sleep in the garage.   It had no windows and was neither heated nor air-conditioned. Soon after she arrived, the garage's only light bulb went out. The Ibrahims didn't replace it. From then on, Shyima lived in the dark.   She was told to call them Madame Amal and Hajj Nasser, terms of respect. They called her "shaghala," or servant. Their five children called her "stupid."

Young workers in the oldest profession - Clark County girls make up a third of the underage sex workers in Portland

Isolde Raftery, The Columbian, December 6, 2008

-- Source:

[accessed 8 January 2011]

Sarah was 16 and addicted to crack cocaine when she heard there was easy money to make in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant off Fourth Plain Boulevard.   “I went there to pick up guys,” Sarah, 22, said. “They would buy me what I wanted as long as I had sex with them.”   After working for a year in Vancouver, Sarah ventured to Portland. Willowy, her greasy blond hair pulled tight into a bun, she looks exhausted.   “I got here on Sandy and 82nd, and this guy, D.C., asked me if I wanted to get high,” she said one morning last summer, sitting on a curb in northeast Portland. “Then he told me I owed him money and to go get money.”   Sarah was trapped. She’d fallen prey to a pimp’s come-on and become one of the 20 to 30 juveniles Portland police say work the streets at any given time. Like more than a third of those girls, she is from Vancouver. And like many of them, she remains beyond the reach of police efforts to separate her from her pimp. It’s been six years, and Sarah is still on the streets.

‘SNITCHES DIE, YOU KNOW’ - “I can cite case after case of girls coming from average families, and once the pimp was able to intervene, the family didn’t matter anymore,” Dick said. “I know of officers’ daughters who got into it, a federal prosecutor’s daughter, a DA’s daughter, a politician’s daughter.”   Cherise was a rebellious 15-year-old when she met her first pimp, Deandre Green, at Lloyd Center in Portland. Green was a 25-year-old Bloods gang member from Aloha, Ore.   He sweet-talked her to a nondescript, two-story motel and told her the rules: This is business, don’t be out of pocket, respect your pimp and give me all your money.   According to court documents, when Cherise said she had second thoughts, Green said, “I know where you live and where your family lives. I will kill you and your family if you say anything to anybody. You’re mine now.”

Human trafficking cases increase in El Paso

Louie Gilot, Libertas, November 12, 2006

[accessed 8 January 2011]

Gardes showed the photograph of a field worker standing on top of a large farm truck -- a scene common across the Southwest. His name is Ricardo, she said. He was smuggled across the border in Arizona and abandoned in the desert for eight days with only three days' worth of food and water. He was found by another smuggler who offered to guide him, for a fee. When Ricardo couldn't pay, the smuggler sold him to a Florida labor contractor for $1,100.  This became Ricardo's debt. He worked in a field for $80 a week to repay it. At the same time, his trafficker overcharged him for rent and other necessities. Gardes said he was never meant to be able to repay the debt.  One day, another trafficking victim escaped, was recaptured and was beaten in front of Ricardo and the others. "At this point, Ricardo realized this was really slavery," Gardes said.

Sexual Slavery in Southern California Today?  Epidemic, say officials

C.S.I. , February 9, 2004 -- Source:

[accessed 8 January 2011]

She was a teenage girl from an impoverished village in Bangladesh. The American couple offered her transport to America and a better life: a nice job as their nanny and housekeeper, wages and opportunity. The dream offer dissolved into a nightmare as soon as she reached sunny Southern California. The couple informed her she owed them a huge sum for bringing her into the country and forced her to work without wages for years in their home, where she was repeatedly raped and beaten by the husband and abused by the wife. After three failed attempts, and with the help of good Samaritans, she finally escaped.

Runaway raped, held as sex slave

Judi Villa and Lindsey Collom, The Arizona Republic, Nov. 9, 2005

[accessed 13 June 2013]

[accessed 29 June 2017]

Since September, the 15-year-old girl had been raped repeatedly, threatened with death and sold for sex over the Internet, police said.  Her captors hid the runaway in a hollowed-out box spring covered with a piece of wood and tucked underneath a bed in a small apartment complex adjacent to Interstate 17 in west Phoenix.

Through His Webcam, a Boy Joins a Sordid Online World

Kurt Eichenwald, The New York Times, December 19, 2005

[accessed 12 August 2011]

Justin's dark coming-of-age story is a collateral effect of recent technological advances. Minors, often under the online tutelage of adults, are opening for-pay pornography sites featuring their own images sent onto the Internet by inexpensive Webcams. And they perform from the privacy of home, while parents are nearby, beyond their children's closed bedroom door.

Trafficking victims spurn help

Jose Cardenas, St. Petersburg Times, April 15, 2007

[accessed 10 January 2011]

[accessed 28 February 2018]

[accessed 17 February 2019]

But local investigators are finding that victims of human trafficking don't surface easily.

In the six months since World Relief got a $450,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to help survivors in the region, none have been found.

U.S. anti-trafficking groups urge Biden to shift focus from sex to labor

Christine Murray, Reuters, 10 November 2020

[Long URL]

[accessed 11 November 2020]

An estimated 20 million people globally are victims of forced labor while 4.8 million are trafficked for sex, according to the Walk Free Foundation. The human rights group estimates there are at least 400,000 modern slaves in the United States.

“We’re really hopeful that there’ll be more attention that’s brought to the issue of forced labor again,” said Neha Misra, senior specialist on migration and human trafficking at the Solidarity Center - a workers rights’ advocacy group.


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