February 28th, 2012
09:54 AM ET

Lincoln's legacy fights modern slavery

By Athena Jones, CNN

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sheila White was beginning to feel numb. She had been beaten numerous times by a man who forced her to work as a prostitute on the streets of New York City.

"I done got beaten up in front of the Port Authority in Times Square," she said, a reference to a bus terminal on the city's West Side. "When stuff like that happens out in the open, you really feel like you're not even a person."

White was eventually able to escape her pimp and now works with victims of sex trafficking throughout New York state. But her story is proof that slavery is alive and well in America, 150 years after it was supposedly abolished.

While modern slavery may look different from the old images of plantations, slave cabins and auction blocks, abuse, coercion and manipulation remain the order of the day.