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Human Trafficking Escalates as Economy Plunges

EFE, Posted: Jun 06, 2009

LOS ANGELES -- The number of human trafficking victims forced to work in slave-like conditions has increased since the global economic downturn, according to experts at a human trafficking conference organized by UCLA's Iris Cantor Women's Health Center. The UN reported last month that human trafficking is on the rise in Europe as profits from human trafficking is more lucrative than trafficking in drugs or arms. The global economic crisis makes people more willing to take risks to seek employment, according to Lisette Arsuaga of the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST). In the last eight months, she said her Los Angeles organization has seen a 200 percent increase in the number of clients.

According to CAST, there are about 27 million people working in slave-like conditions in the world. An estimated 50,000 victims are brought to the United States every year, many of whom are forced to work in factories or homes. Others are forced into the sex trade. In Los Angeles alone, CAST estimates that 10,000 women are currently being held in clandestine brothels.


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