11-23-11: Human Trafficking
As we reflect on our gifts at Thanksgiving it’s good to remember the relative security most of us enjoy doesn’t enfold everyone. Just this month Marylanders got a close-up look at a harrowing menace when the FBI cracked a forced-prostitution ring that stretched from Baltimore to El Paso, with a stop in Laurel. Ten defendants have been charged. Federal prosecutors say they promised young women interesting opportunities – like a singing career — lured them ‘on tour,’ confiscated their identification documents, money and cell phones,, and sold them for sex.
A small part of a big picture: The State department estimates a half million people or more are trafficked around the world for labor or sex each year. To give us some context, we talk with Mary Ellison, a human-rights lawyer and director of policy for the Polaris Project, a non-profit based in Washington that combats Human Trafficking and slavery.