I used to wonder how so many people could continue to be enslaved around the world without anyone noticing or raising the alarm. This summer, during my internship at the international anti-slavery organization Free the Slaves, I began to understand. Among other appalling traits, modern-day slavery is differentiated from historical slavery by how effectively it is hidden in plain view.
The U.S. State Department estimates this is a $32 billion industry worldwide, second in size and scope only to drug trafficking. In the United States, where the Emancipation Proclamation abolished slavery 150 years ago, it continues to thrive. In fact, between 15,000 and 17,500 people are trafficked into the United States annually, not to mention the thousands of United States citizens lured into trafficking situations every year.