Almost every nation has outlawed all forms of slavery, but I was shocked this afternoon to learn that more than 20 West African girls were trafficked from Ghana and Togo, and held as slaves in the U.S., precisely in Newark, New Jersey, many years after the "land of the free" abolished all forms of slavery and servitude.
The girls were promised a world-class education and trafficked to the U.S., but upon arrival, they were held as slaves - working "7 days a week", sometimes "14 hours" a day in hair dressing salons for almost a decade. They lived in a middle class neighborhood and walked the streets, unnoticed, to and from work everyday. The traffickers collected all the money (including tips) the girls earned working as hair dressers.
After watching the report today on News Stream - a programme on CNN International anchored by Kristie Lu Stout - I managed to find a short video that briefly illustrates the plight of the young West African girls . Watch.
This case brings to mind the story of African women trafficked to Russia by a human trafficking and prostitution ring operating between Russia and Ghana (note that Ghana is mentioned in both cases of trafficking to Russia and the U.S.), and highlights the "slave owner" role played by Africans in modern-day slavery.
The traffickers in this New Jersey case are reportedly Africans - a husband, wife and son. A court recently sentenced them to 24, 27 and 4.5 years in prison, respectively.
Human trafficking is an unspeakable and intolerable violation of human rights, dignity and security of persons. Traffickers should bear the full weight of the law.
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