March 8th, 2011
01:13 PM ET

'It's the person next door'

U.S. anti-human trafficking Czar Luis CdeBaca talks with CNN about the role of governments and businesses in fighting slavery and also the historical context of slavery in the United States.

"One of our big problems with this under-reported crime is to not only find it, but then recognize it when we see it," CdeBaca says.

It's a problem with a long history in the United States.

"Since 1619 there's not been a day in the United States where someone was not enslaved," CdeBaca explains. "When the first Africans were brought off the ship from Angola, in the Jamestown settlement, it started a legacy that we have to continually fight in this country. Within a month of each other, both the United States and the UK abolished the slave trade in 1808. Unfortunately, in both countries, slavery continued for decades after that.

Topics: The Facts • Voices

soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. lance reed

    how is this legacy being fought today?do you really believe anyone in todays america thinks of blacks as descended from slaves?

    March 8, 2011 at 8:47 pm | Reply
    • Wife

      I am white/native american and married 20 years to a black man. I can tell you that neither he, nor his family or black friends ever forgets for a minute that their great-grandparents were slaves!

      March 9, 2011 at 6:14 pm | Reply
      • Justina

        @Wife: I'm Asian and I can never forget how males enslave/d females in our cultures. Or how our own countrymen suffered at the hands of other tribes. I think we should stop blaming others and keep going. If we really abhor the oppression and damages we suffered, we would do our utmost best to liberate others instead of whining or having grudge, since abuse and slavery are truly universal in human societies. Jesus said that everyone of us is a slave to our own sin. God forgives us in Jesus, helps us to forgive those who enslaved us, makes our life right, and enables us to rescue others. If we don't help others on this troubled planet, we are villains of doing-nothing whether we are former victims or not.

        March 11, 2011 at 8:03 pm |
  2. lori samms

    There is all kinds of slavery and it continues to go on to this day in many forms.this isn't about how we view this generation of blacks. slavery crosses ethnicity

    March 8, 2011 at 9:52 pm | Reply
  3. Sesilia NZ

    Of course there is! How can u be indenial that some people in america still think like that? White supremists!KKK!? I would be shocked if they didnt!!

    March 9, 2011 at 1:46 am | Reply
  4. Frank

    Slave time is comming back, love to hear this, all of you blak motherfukkers prepare to serve us again

    March 9, 2011 at 5:49 am | Reply
    • alex

      well in that case, I hope the slaves start by teaching you how to spell, you ignorant uneducated fool.

      June 19, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Reply
  5. Lemat

    I, as a man who thinks loudly enough to be heard in more than one state, feels slavery will never end... se inslave the hearts and minds of americans everyday... its us bein free that scares us the most... most americans are slaves to themselves, but we are all slaves to america....

    March 9, 2011 at 8:40 am | Reply
  6. angry


    March 9, 2011 at 8:47 am | Reply
  7. J

    Just another reason everyone should read "Hell is an Awfully Big City"

    March 9, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Reply
  8. Aww Sh~t

    Slavery never left its in a diffrent form instead of beatings to the back its a beating to our pockets and if u dont work like a slave at your job because the whiteman continues to raise the standards 4 living then u will be a bum and then go to be a slave in jail thanks NWO

    March 9, 2011 at 10:03 pm | Reply
  9. igbinosun innocent mose

    l will first of all thank cnn for this cnnproject freedom l am very much happy that cnn brought this issue back again to the world notice becouse is really one of the big problem many people around the world is facing today. yes it is time to stop slavery l joint the cnn freedom project and l wish cnn the best in this project. thanks you..... am innocent form netherland.....

    March 10, 2011 at 4:35 am | Reply
  10. Jlopez

    Its amazing what people do to others just to get ahead sickning just down right cruelty . They should learn to be nice its a crime to humanity to enslave and torcher .

    March 10, 2011 at 9:53 am | Reply
  11. Ana

    I just read what "Frank" over here said, and it`s outrageous. How can a person say that? It is so sad, to see comments like this one. What does the colour of the skin has to do with slavery?? I thought we passed that obviously not all of us. Slavery is almost in every country, it`s a world disease.

    March 10, 2011 at 9:56 am | Reply
  12. Chris

    According to the media hype There was supposed to be hundreds of thousands of under age child sex slaves kidnapped and forced to have sex with super bowl fans. At the Dallas Super Bowl 2011. WHAT HAPPENED TO ALL OF THEM???????????? Where are they???????????????

    Well, as I predicted it was all a lie by the Dallas Women’s Foundation which is a anti-prostitution group that in order to get grant money from the government and charities to pay their high salaries. As proved in the link below:

    Top FBI agent in Dallas sees no evidence of expected spike in child sex trafficking

    In recent years, every time there has been a major international sporting event, a group of government officials, campaigning feminists, pliant journalists and NGOs have claimed that the movement of thousands of men to strange foreign countries where there will be lots of alcohol and horniness will result in the enslavement of underage sex slaves for the purposes of sexual pleasure. Obviously. And every time they have simply doubled the made-up scare figures from the last international sporting event, to make it look like this problem of sport/sex/slavery gets worse year on year. Yet each year it is proved false.

    This myth of thousands or millions of underage sex slaves tries to make every sports fan a sex criminal. No matter what the sport is, or in what country it is in.

    Brian McCarthy isn't happy. He's a spokesman for the NFL. Every year he's forced to hear why his customers are adulterers and child molesters. Brian McCarthy says the sport/super bowl sex slave story is a urban legend, with no truth at all.

    ==World Cup 2010 ==
    Again using the made up number of 40,000 prostitutes trafficked:
    The behavior of fans in South Africa has run contrary to what was predicted prior to the start of the tournament after David Bayever told World Cup organizers in March it was feared that up to 40,000 extra prostitutes could converge in the host nation to meet the expected demand. Bayever, deputy chairperson of South Africa's Central Drug Authority (CDA) that advises on drug abuse but also works with prostitutes, warned: "Forty-thousand new prostitutes. As if we do not have enough people of our own, we have to import them to ensure our visitors are entertained."
    But the tournament in 2010, if anything, has seen the modern-day soccer fan attracted to art galleries and museums over brothels.
    A trend that has seen a drop in revenue across the board for the prostitution industry, which is illegal in South Africa. "Zobwa," the chairperson of Sisonke - an action group representing around 70 street prostitutes in Johannesburg - said business had been down over the last month. "The World Cup has been devastating. We thought it was going to be a cash cow but it's chased a lot of the business away. It's been the worst month in my company's history," the owner and founder of one of Johannesburg's most exclusive escort companies told CNN.

    CNN Link:

    == World Cup 2006 ==
    Politicians, religious and aid groups, still repeat the media story that 40,000 prostitutes were trafficked intoGermany for the 2006 world cup – long after leaked police documents revealed there was no truth at all in the tale. A baseless claim of 25,000 trafficking victims is still being quoted, recently, for example, by the Salvation Army in written evidence to the home affairs select committee, in which they added: "Other studies done by media have suggested much higher numbers.” Which has been proven by the German police to be completely false. Yet people still talk about these false numbers as if it were fact.

    In recent years, every time there has been a major international sporting event, a group of government officials, campaigning feminists, pliant journalists and NGOs have claimed that the movement of thousands of men to strange foreign countries where there will be lots of alcohol and horniness will result in the enslavement of women for the purposes of sexual pleasure. Obviously. And every time they have simply doubled the made-up scare figures from the last international sporting event, to make it look like this problem of sport/sex/slavery gets worse year on year. Yet each year it is proved false.
    This myth tries to make every sports fan a sex criminal. No matter what the sport is, or in what country it is in. These anti-prostitution groups need to in invent a victim that does not exist in order to get press attention.
    I do not like the idea of people getting the wrong information and believing lies, no matter what the topic is. The Sex trafficking, slavery issue is one of the biggest lies being told today. It is amazing to me how people will believe such lies so easily. The media is to blame for this. I wonder why they feel such a need to report wrong stats, numbers and information about this topic without doing proper research.

    While this may happen in very rare limited situations, the media will say that millions of people are sex slaves without doing any real research on the topic. Only taking the word of special interest anti-prostitution groups which need to generate money in the form of huge government grants from taxpayers, and charities. These "non profit" group's employees make huge salaries, therefore they need to lobby the government, and inflate and invent victims in order to get more money into their organizations. If you look into how many real kidnapped forced against their will sex slaves there are, and not just take the anti-prostitution groups word for it. You will be very surprised.
    Where are all the forced sex slaves? I would like to meet the millions of slaves and see for myself if they were kidnapped and forced against their will.

    These groups lobby the government in a big way, getting Politicians to truly believe their lies.

    This is an attempt to over inflate an issue in order to get more government money to these organizations. As a tax payer, voter, and resident I don’t want the government to mislead me.

    I would like to see your news organization do a full report on the lies, myths and exaggerated numbers being told about sex trafficking slaves. The articles about the super bowl sex slaves, has been proved wrong many times, but news organizations still report about it, as if it were fact.

    Millions of USA government dollars are being spent to fight a crime that is extremely rare. The US government assumes that all prostitutes on Earth are sex trafficked slaves. Forced into it against their will. This is NOT true of MOST women.

    The numbers of sex trafficking sex slaves:
    There is a lot of controversy over the numbers of adult woman who are forced sex slaves. The real factual answer is that no one knows. There is hard evidence that the sex slavery/sex trafficking issue continues to report false information and is greatly exaggerated by politicians, the media, and aid groups, feminist and religious organizations that receive funds from the government, The estimate of adult women who become new sex slaves ranges anywhere from 40 million a year to 5,000 per year all of which appear to be much too high. They have no evidence to back up these numbers, and no one questions them about it. Their sources have no sources, and are made up numbers. In fact if some of these numbers are to believed which have either not changed or have been increased each year for the past twenty years, all woman on earth would currently be sex slaves. Yet, very few real forced against their will sex slaves have been found.

    It is not easy for criminals to engage in this acitvity:
    Sex trafficking/Slavery is illegal and the pentities are very severe. It is very difficult to force someone to be a sex slave, they would have to have 24 hour guards posted and be watched 365 days a year, 24 hours per day. Have the threat of violence if they refused, and have no one notice and complain to the authorities or police. They would need to hide from the general public yet still manage to see customers from the general public. They would need to provide them with medical care, food, shelter, and have all their basic needs met. They would need to have the sex slaves put on a fake front that they enjoyed what they were doing, act flirtatious and do their job well. They would have to deal with the authorities looking for the missing women, and hide any money they may make, since it comes from illegal activity. They must do all of this while constantly trying to prevent the sex slaves from escaping and reporting them to the police. This is extremely difficult to do, which makes this activity rare. These criminals would be breaking dozens of major laws not just one. Kidnapping itself is a serious crime. There are many laws against sex trafficking, sex slavery, kidnapping, sex abuse, rape, sexual harassment etc. If someone is behind it, they will be breaking many serious laws, be in big trouble, and will go to jail for many long years.
    While there are some women who may be true victims. And it is possible for this to happen in rare situations. This is a small rare group of people and that the numbers and scale of this crime is exaggerated. The very nature of someone pulling off a kidnapping and forced sex for profit appears to be very difficult. Since it would be difficult this makes this crime rare. Not impossible, but extremely rare.

    A key point is that on the sidelines the prostitutes themselves are not being listened to. They oppose laws against prostitution. But no one wants to listen to the prostitutes themselves. Only to the self appointed experts that make up numbers and stories many of which have never met a real forced sex slave or if they did it was only a few. The media and government never ask the prostitutes themselves what would help them in terms of laws.

    Many women in the sex business are independent workers. They don’t have a pimp.
    They work for themselves, advertise themselves, and keep all the money for themselves. No one forces them, because there isn’t anyone to force them. They go out and find their own customers, set their own prices, and arrange everything by themselves. Sometimes they may employ others to help them, but these are not pimps. If for example, she hires an internet web design company to make a website for her, does that make the web design company a pimp? If she pays a phone company for a phone to do business, does this make the phone company a pimp? If she puts an ad in the paper, does this make the editor a pimp? If she puts the money she makes into a bank account does this make the bank a pimp?

    A lot of anti prostitution groups would say yes. Everyone and everybody is a pimp.
    These groups make up lies, and false statistics that no one bothers to check. A big reason they do this is because it provides high paying jobs for them. They get big donations, and grants from the government, charity, churches, etc. to have these groups, and pay these workers.

    Here is some more information about this:

    March 10, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Reply
  13. noemi

    This is for frank.I pray for u its people like u that puts our nation @ risk.with your hate @ others like u are like ablack pleg on humanity.when u look @ yourself in the mirror what do u. See ? Does the man in the mirror scare u? Your parents if u have them must be SO PROUD

    March 13, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Reply
  14. Julius

    Hmmmm...frank or whatever u call urself;it is all too clear that u are a motherfucking idiot of the highest are so daft that u don't know u are already a slave both@heart and in mind.
    To cnnfreedom project team:a million thanx for the initiative.Modern day slavery comes in sophisticated forms so much that it goes on unnoticed.the godfathers,adroit boss,sly mentors all infringe on the rights of others & use others for their own vile purposes.Failure to follow their dictates often put others in jeopardy.
    These pple suffer in silence just to keep their jobs/source of income.

    March 14, 2011 at 4:04 am | Reply
  15. Gravy_Hole

    would anyone care for some aids?

    April 4, 2011 at 12:06 am | Reply
  16. Hannah

    Frank, you're an idiot.


    Women and children often do not run away because they are told their families will be harmed if they do. Or they're in a place where they do not speak the language, how do they tell and where do they go?

    If law enforcement officers are their "customers" how could they possibly trust any police? Add to that the fact that often immigrants are looked upon as dirt in the USA, lately, because of the misconception that "they are stealing our jobs."

    How do you run when their is no place to run to? Who do you tell when you can not communicate? How do you prove you were tricked into coming here when your ID has been stolen? How do you stand up for yourself when you've been crushed in mind, body, and spirit?

    Women who have had one bad "date rape" often end up dealing with it in therapy for years. You think a fifteen year old girl who has been raped twenty times a day for the past six months, no time off, has the strength and confidence to escape a pimp, figure out who to tell, and have the courage to testify? Really?

    April 6, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Reply
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