• JUser: :_load: Unable to load user with ID: 54

Slavery Lives on in the United States

Wednesday, 15 February 2012 04:20 By Dan Archer, Truthout | Graphic Journalism
  • font size decrease font size decrease font size increase font size increase font size
  • Print
  • Email

September 22, 2012, will mark the 150th anniversary of the emancipation proclamation, President Lincoln's decisive move to abolish slavery nationwide. President Obama echoed this decisive call by declaring January "National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month." In January 1, 2013, the FBI Unified Crime Reports will at last feature a "trafficking" category to allow police departments to begin quantifying the size of the problem.

Yet, while many can agree on the need to wipe out this abhorrent practice, a large proportion of the US population(1) are unaware of the dramatic rise in human trafficking within the US in recent years: trafficking is actually one of the fastest-growing criminal activities in the world, second only to the drug trade. Many people wrongly assume that human trafficking only refers to sex trafficking and is limited to developing countries on the other side of the world, yet The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children estimates that at least 100,000 American children are the victims of commercial sexual trafficking and prostitution each year. This is in addition to the estimated 14,500-17,500 foreign nationals trafficked into the US each year, according to the Washington DC-based Polaris Project.

Human trafficking refers to: Minors (under age 18) involved in commercial sex; adults age 18 or over involved in commercial sex via force, fraud, or coercion; and a category too often overlooked by most, children and adults forced to perform labor and/or services in conditions of involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage or slavery, via force, fraud, or coercion. This includes agricultural work or housekeeping, both of which are widespread throughout the US, often due to their seemingly legitimate appearance. My goal with the following comic was to shed a light on the nature of trafficking in the Bay Area, using material gathered from conversations with attorneys and actual case files.

Click here or on the comic below to open it in a new window and click again to zoom in.

1. Fielded September 9-13, 2005, via telephone by International Communications Research from a nationally representative sample of 1,012 adults (504 women and 508 men) 18 plus surveyed.

This piece may not be reproduced without explicit permission from Truthout.

In its print edition of February 15, 2012, San Francisco Public Press<> republished this story from Truthout .

Dan Archer

Dan Archer creates nonfictional, journalistic comics to offer a new perspective on human rights/social justice issues and give voice to stories that wouldn’t otherwise be heard. In 2010, he was awarded the John S. Knight Fellowship for Professional Journalists at Stanford University - the first comics journalist ever admitted to the program. His journalistic pieces have been published by American Public Media, Cartoon Movement, The London School of Economics, The Huffington Post, AlterNet, The Guardian UK, Yes! Magazine, Eye See magazine, Graphic Novel Reporter, World War 3 Illustrated, Presente, Operamundi (Brazil), Expressbuzz (India) and Independent World Report, among others. They have also been distributed by the International Organization for Migration, The Coalition for Immokalee Workers and Sparkplug comics. He has also worked with several publishers, including Penguin, Atlantic Books, Abrams Comic Arts (on a collaboration with Harvey Pekar), Random House and Harper Collins. He received his MFA in cartooning from the Center for Cartoon Studies in Vermont and currently co-teaches the graphic novel project through the Creative Writing Department at Stanford University.

Hide Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus