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The New Face of Slavery

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posted on Aug, 20 2006 @ 09:51 PM
It could be the maid at the hotel you stayed, or will stay, in on your vacation this summer. It may have been the person who served your meal at the restaurant in the quaint little town you stopped off in on the way there. More likely, it was the masseuse at the massage parlor you visited, the one who may, or may not, have offered you "full service". Meet the new face of slavery.
On Tuesday, federal and local law enforcement raided brothels disguised as massage parlors, health spas and acupuncture clinics in New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Maryland, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia, arresting 31 people on trafficking charges.

Authorities said they also freed more than 70 sex workers, taking them to undisclosed locations for questioning and to provide basic services such as health care and food. Authorities said it might take weeks to get the Korean immigrants to trust them enough to discuss their ordeal.

Carole Angel, staff attorney with the Immigrant Women Program of the women's rights advocacy group Legal Momentum in Washington said the raids should not give the impression that trafficking is limited to immigrants, who are often enticed into coming to America for legitimate jobs but then forced to work in brothels, sweatshops and restaurants to pay off debts of up to $30,000 to their traffickers.

Such forced labor also thrives in agricultural and domestic work, as well as in sweatshops or unregulated industries, said Laurel Fletcher, law professor at the University of California at Berkeley International Human Rights Law Clinic.

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So there you have it. Going on all over the place, right beneath our noses.

It makes me think twice about the cute little Asian girls working the counter at the Chinese take-out place down the street. One of them offered me a beer and some company with my two item combo a while back. I laughed and thought she was joking.

The next time I went back, the lady running the place asked me if I liked fishing. She said she would rather have money to go shopping. She said fishing was boring. I didn't get her drift.

Now, I'm not so sure.

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