Last night, the Law & Order: SVU episode about modern day slavery aired. The story focused on the uncovering of a human trafficking ring that forced American children into hard labor and sex slavery. The episode showed how these heinous crimes can be hidden in plain sight—and how victims of sex trafficking are often prosecuted as criminals.
Today, public reaction to the episode has hit the blogosphere. One piece written for the crowd-sourced content site Suite 101 said:
“[The show] revealed to viewers that while foreigners who have become the victims of human trafficking crimes are eligible to receive official assistance, less support is available for American-born victims of the same crimes… the information was more difficult to fully absorb due to the full extent of its horror. The episode made for especially disturbing evening viewing, and it may understandably have caused some nightmares.”
The website Deadbolt.com ran an interview today, with the episode’s executive producer Neal Baer and guest star Gloria Reuben. The interview clues us in to where the inspiration for the story line may have come from. Baer says he taught a one day class in Harvard earlier this year, when he was approached by a student who keyed him in to the extent of modern day slavery in the U.S. “We hear about sex trafficking, which is horrendous,” Baer said, “But we don’t hear as much about trafficking where kids are forced to work on farms and work for people in their homes.”
Free the Slaves has a great college chapter at Harvard. Their faculty advisory board is populated by some of the most preeminent specialists in the field: Benjamin Skinner, and former FTS board member Siddharth Kara. The founder of the chapter is Kelli Okuji—a former intern with Free the Slaves. Okuji has worked tirelessly to raise awareness, even taking steps to establish a human trafficking course.
Find out more about how you can establish your own Free the Slaves college chapter! Visit the FTS college chapter Facebook page here!