LOS ANGELES – A recent U.S. State Department report says 27 million people worldwide are subject to forced labor and sexual slavery. A major effort is under way in California to fight the problem. Virginia Isaias was forced to marry at 15 in her native Mexico, and later kidnapped with her six-year-old daughter and forced into prostitution. Her story is told in a documentary now being produced, called Sands of Silence. Isaias herself is now an anti-trafficking activist who talks about the cost of human trafficking to groups such as this one, in Santa Ana, California.
“They take your baby and give it to another woman and they give another woman’s baby to you. So a mother is less likely to flee. They also threaten you and have people watching over you,” said Isaias.
IsaIas escaped and paid a ransom for her child. Her story is all too common, says filmmaker Chelo Alvarez-Stehle.
“Because of globalization, or migration, that pushes people to move from one country to another and they become vulnerable to traffickers,” said Alvarez-Stehle.