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Modern Day Slavery - Does It Exist?

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Modern Day Slavery -Does it Exist?

In Charles Dickens visit to America in 1842 he discovered a brutal and gruesome system of human rights violations in the mistreatment of slaves. In a country he believed to be free, he found terror and mutiny. As soon as Dickens began his visit to America, he began seeing these horrible mistreatments. He saw slaves get beat, harassed, and even killed in the public parts of town, like they were cattle in a slaughterhouse. Dickens was thoroughly disgusted from how inhumane these slave owners were. Every place Dickens went, especially the south, he found different signs of slavery. He saw headlines on newspapers showing missing slaves like they were simply property. He saw owners spit in the faces of their slaves if they weren't working hard enough. Dickens wrote American Notes to bring these atrocities to the public. He believed that if perhaps he showed people how horrible slavery was, they would come to their senses and end it. Still years after his book was released, still nothing had been done to "[...] advance the cause of human freedom in America" (Dickens). Many people today believe that slavery has been abolished, but in an abundance of countries around the world, some form of it still exists. Slavery has not been destroyed; it has simply been reborn in the names of human trafficking and child labor. Despite Charles Dickens intentions, slavery and human trafficking continue to take place in all parts of the world today, with Costa Rica being one of the most prominent countries.

Costa Rica, where the sex trade is legal and government-regulated, continues to be an "[...] international hub for prostitution"(Miami Herald). The leaders of this country are approving and even promoting the actions of human sex trafficking and underage prostitution; this is what makes Costa Rica such a hot-spot for human trafficking. Women of all ages from 10 to 80 years old come to Costa Rica to be sex slaves in order to make money. "Business is bad. The problem is competition. Sometimes I don't even make enough to take a taxi home after work,'' says an anonymous Costa Rican woman. Recently, because of the global recession, many more women have travelled to Costa Rica in search of a job. And with the economy remaining where it is, many more vulnerable children and young women will be dragged into this dangerous and horrible business. Despite all the women who come here at their own digression to make money, there are many women who are forced into this not by choice. These targets are mostly young attractive females who if found alone, will likely be abducted and forced into a human sex trafficking business. Costa Rica has just recently been placed on America's tier 2 watch list for human trafficking. Costa Rica is "a source and destination for human sex trafficking and forced labor" (Ferguson). Since it is a legal place for human trafficking, even when girls are abducted the law enforcement does little to help the kidnapped victims. In their country they don't see sex trade as a bad thing, therefore little is done to try and find the girl. While Costa Rican officials have developed procedures to help the potential victims of human trafficking, in the past 2 years they have not made one conviction. In 2010, authorities prosecuted a U.S. citizen for alleged sexual exploitation of a child; however, the suspect was not convicted. To conclude, the police form is not helping victims of this terror, "All countries can and must do more" (Clinton).

Not only is it banal to see human trafficking in Costa Rica, but forced labor is as well. Due to its geographical location, Costa Rica is a transition point for trafficking victims. From Central America these victims can very easily be shipped all around the world to places where they are needed. Remarkably, the United States is in the top 5 places to where trafficking



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