The Slave Next Door: Human Trafficking and Slavery in America Today

The Slave Next Door: Human Trafficking and Slavery in America Today

The Slave Next Door: Human Trafficking and Slavery in America Today

The Slave Next Door: Human Trafficking and Slavery in America Today


In this riveting book, authors and authorities on modern day slavery Kevin Bales and Ron Soodalter expose the disturbing phenomenon of human trafficking and slavery that exists now in the United States. In The Slave Next Door we find that slaves are all around us, hidden in plain sight: the dishwasher in the kitchen of the neighborhood restaurant, the kids on the corner selling cheap trinkets, the man sweeping the floor of the local department store. In these pages we also meet some unexpected slaveholders, such as a 27-year old middle-class Texas housewife who is currently serving a life sentence for offences including slavery. Weaving together a wealth of voices--from slaves, slaveholders, and traffickers as well as from experts, counselors, law enforcement officers, rescue and support groups, and others--this book is also a call to action, telling what we, as private citizens, can do to finally bring an end to this horrific crime.


Since we sat down to write The Slave Next Door, there have been some significant developments; and while many areas are still in serious need of improvement, a number of things have changed for the better. First, let’s look at the good news.


New Administration, Fresh Outlook

From all outward signs, the election of Barack Obama to the presidency has brought a fresh outlook to the issue of human trafficking and slavery in our country. This “debasement of our common humanity,” he stated, “has to be a top priority.” And Secretary of State Hillary Clinton echoed these sentiments. In a June 17, 2009, op-ed in the Washington Post, timed to accompany the release of the annual Trafficking in Persons Report, she wrote, “The Obama administration views the fight against human trafficking, at home and abroad, as an important priority on our foreign policy agenda.” It’s still too early to tell, but thus far, the new administration is saying and doing all the right things. In a move that demonstrated an understanding of the problem and how best to address it, President Obama nominated Luis CdeBaca as the State Department’s ambassador-at-large to monitor and combat trafficking in persons. CdeBaca, arguably one of the most qualified people in America for the post, brings a career-long history of fighting human trafficking cases as

Counsel to the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary, on detail from the
Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. On the Commit
tee, his portfolio for Chairman John Conyers, Jr. includes national security,
intelligence, immigration, civil rights, and modern slavery issues. At the
Justice Department, CdeBaca served as Chief Counsel of the Civil Rights
Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit. During the Clinton Admin-

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