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Sex slavery: Living the American nightmare
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of MSNBC

MSNBC, December 22, 2008
Posted: January 9th, 2009

When FBI and immigration agents arrested a 28-year-old Guatemalan woman three months ago in Los Angeles, they announced that they had shut down one of the most elaborate sex trafficking rings in the country. But it was one of only a few such cases to be spotlighted by national media, contributing to the false impression that cases of immigrant sex trafficking are isolated incidents. The reality is that human trafficking goes on in nearly every American city and town, said Lisette Arsuaga, director of development for the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking, a human rights organization in Los Angeles. Her assessment is shared by authorities in Bexar County, Texas, where the Sheriffs Office has formed a task force with Shared Hope International, an anti-slavery organization founded by former Rep. Linda Smith, D-Wash. Bexar County is considered a crossroads of the cross-border Mexican sex slave trade. Federal officials agree that the trafficking of human beings as sex slaves is far more prevalent than is popularly understood. While saying it is difficult to pinpoint the scope of the industry, given its shadowy nature ... officials estimated that it likely generates more than $9.5 billion a year. The Justice Department maintains a human trafficking hotline at 1-888-428-7581. Weve come to learn that cases of trafficking are all around us in plain sight, [Carmen Pitre, executive director of the Task Force on Family Violence,] said. Today, you can buy a human being for $200 in any major city in the world.

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