Ending Slavery: How We Free Today's Slaves

By Kevin Bales | Go to book overview

1
The Challenge
Understanding the World of New Slavery

It is just like a fisherman going to fish. … If he don’t put out the bait, he
can’t get a fish. So they tell the parents a lovely story, you know, what [their
children] will encounter when they come to the United States. But behold,
when they get into the United States the picture is completely different.

LOUIS

Louis works for the phone company near Washington, D.C. He also frees slaves. When he got together with family and friends for the Thanksgiving holiday a few years ago, Louis did what everyone does—he got out his video camera. As he recorded the holiday gathering, he noticed something strange: in the large group of family and friends, one teenage girl always tried to hide when he turned on the camera.

And I asked myself, you know, what’s wrong with the young lady? At first I asked her, where do you come from? She told me she was visiting from Indiana. That is, she was staying with my cousin there. But something stuck in my mind.

Louis had visited his cousin in Indiana several times and didn’t remember ever meeting this young woman. Driving home from the party, he asked his wife what she knew about the girl. His wife had heard that the girl had eloped and was now hiding with their cousin. Yet this seemed a little odd as well, because normally a girl seeking refuge would look first to her own family.

Louis had come to the United States from Cameroon, West Africa, in 1985 and eventually became a U.S. citizen. With a degree in management

-5-

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