Last night the entire hour of Larry King Live was given over to modern day slavery. And we were excited to see that in his interviews, King quoted generously from Free the Slaves research. He used our website (FreetheSlaves.net) as the source for some of the facts and statistics he mentioned. Some of the information he gleaned from us:
- There are 27 million slaves in the world today.
- The average cost of buying a slave today is $90.
- Slave holders can use many different terms to avoid using the word “slavery.” Terms like bonded labor, attached labor, forced labor.
Guests on the show included journalist and anti-slavery activist Benjamin Skinner; actress Julia Ormond, who is the founder of the anti-slavery NGO ASSET; Mira Sorvino, UN Goodwill Ambassador to Combat Human Trafficking; Dan Rather, who has has produced investigative reports on domestic human trafficking for his show Dan Rather Reports; Florencia Molina, a former enslaved garment worker in Los Angeles, and member of the Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking’s Caucus of Survivors; and Amanda Bonella, who was trafficked into sex slavery as a teenager.
The show mostly focused on slavery in the U.S. I pulled some of the highlights from the interviews, below:
Dan Rather: “The FBI estimates that an excess of 100,000 American girls—American girls—are involved in some form of sex slavery… This is an American problem.”
Ben Skinner on who slave masters are: “Somebody who basically understands that the risk for prosecution historically has been very low and the rewards over the long term are very, very high.
“In South Africa, for example, I was—I went undercover to infiltrate a Nigerian human trafficking syndicate. These were people who were initially trafficking in crack cocaine, but the risk for prosecution was very high for that. The risk of prosecution for trafficking in 15-year-old girls was negligible… There is standalone law against human trafficking in South Africa. And these are volatile commodities.”
Ben Skinner on the profitability of slavery: Organized criminal syndicates make more money from human trafficking than they do from illegal arms trafficking… Human beings are now the second most lucrative commodity after drugs.”
Amanda Bonella on how she got out of sex slavery: “I had heard of an organization that consisted predominantly of women that had been there before. And I couldn’t believe that. That there were women that not only escaped but they came back and helped others get out. I went to that organization and I went through a series of exiting programs, I went to therapy, I did a lot of work on myself in order to get out. If there wasn’t that organization that had survivors working there, I don’t think I would have ever gotten out.”
Free the Slaves works with several organizations around the world, that are founded and staffed by survivors of slavery. (See our list of partners here.) Through our annual Freedom Awards, we recognize former slaves who now dedicate their lives to bringing others to freedom. This year, for the first time, we are honoring an American survivor: Tina Frundt, who, like Amanda Bonella, was trafficked into sex slavery as a teenager. Her road to recover was a long and hard one. And now, she runs a Washington, DC-based hotline and advocacy organization for victims of sex trafficking.
Find out more about Tina, and the other 2010 Freedom Award winners here. Tickets to the ceremony are on sale right now!