According to the 2016 Global Slavery Index by rights group Walk Free Foundation nearly 46 million people are enslaved. While the most common form of slavery are women held in forced prostitution, this also affects men in Mexico’s farms and factories.
CCTV America’s Martin Markovits reports the story.
Mexico\'s gov\'t, activists fight modern day slaveryAccording to the 2016 Global Slavery Index nearly 380,000 people are enslaved.
Karla De La Cuesta wanted to be a star. Taking singing and dancing classes from a young age, she auditioned with a top Mexican music producer. After being offered employment, her dream soon became a nightmare. Cut off from her parents, she was forced to work menial jobs and fell victim to Mexico’s modern slavery
After six years, she was rescued from captivity but the memory of her time still haunts her.
“I could never relax. They would never let me sit down. I couldn’t go out to eat. I was locked up and someone would always be watching with me. I was in constant fear of what would happen to me,” said Karla De La Cuesta, a human rights activist and victim.
Karla is now a human rights activist fighting against Mexico’s modern slavery.
In 2007, Mexico passed a wide-ranging anti-human trafficking law. For the first time, perpetrators could be sentence up to 27 years. Although Mexican authorities have stepped up investigation of these crimes, very few are ever prosecuted.
Francisco Rivas, director of a citizens’ group promoting justice and security, believes the reason the law has not been effective is because many of the victims are psychologically manipulated by their captors. And in many cases, they are afraid to testify against them because of fear of reprisal.
“It did not really work because sometimes it hard to identify the crime. Many times if you asked the victims of human trafficking if they were in forced slavery, probably they will say no,” said Francisco Rivas, Director from Citizen Observatory.
Despite these challenges, Rivas says starting next January, Mexico will publish human trafficking cases prosecuted by the government, an important step in the fight against modern slavery.
Fiona David talks about modern slavery
To further discuss the impacts of modern slavery worldwide, CCTV America’s Mike Walter spoke with Fiona David, the executive director of Global Research of Walk Free Foundation.