COKATO, MN – Elim Mission Church in Cokato hosted a ladies gathering April 8, where Ali Ussery of North Wales, UK of Transform International presented on the realities of modern slavery and human trafficking in Europe.
When the term “slavery” is brought up, it is common to think of it as something that happened in the past. Ussery stated, however, that slavery remains a present concern, sharing recent situations where people are forced to work for little to no pay in “terrible, dirty, and cold” environments, and suffer beatings and other mistreatments regularly.
“It’s a big, serious issue,” she said. “It’s a global issue.”
According to Ussery, there are more slaves now than there has ever been, with more than 30 million of them world wide, and only 1 percent being rescued.
One of the main reasons criminals get into the business of human trafficking was revealed in a quote Ussery shared from a known trafficker:
“I traffick people for the simple reason that the goods are a lot cheaper than a Kalashnikov [a gun] or a kilo of heroin. I’m in less danger if I sell a person than if I sold drugs or weapons, plus the ‘goods’ can move themselves – you kick them and they walk.”
With the attraction of high profits and low risks driving the slave industry, many European criminals have started taking advantage of the recent influx of refugees; promising assistance – for a price – and then ensaring them into slavery.
In addition to trafficked humans, modern slaves are also made up of people who have lived in the same area their entire life and were sold by family or orphanages to wealthy families seeking low-cost servants or industries wanting cheap workers.
Some of the known industries posing a high risk for slavery include catering, hotels, nail bars, construction, transportation, and warehousing.
Overall, Ussery said, “10,000 children have disappeared since they hit Europe, and we don’t know where they are.”
Read the full story in the April 24 edition of the Enterprise Dispatch. Click here to subscribe to the print or online version.