This apartment complex turned slave-labor camp in El Monte is a prime example of how human trafficking can occur in our midst. This complex held more than 60 Thai nationals in slavery in the Los Angeles suburb, until it was raided in 1995. Passersby never saw the spiked fences and razor wire. Initially lured by false job offers and kept in bondage by never-ending debt, Thai captives inside labored from 7 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week, making garments for local retail stores.
According to U.N. statistics, human trafficking is a $32 billion annual industry. Approximately 2.5 million people around the world are currently ensnared in human trafficking.
For more information about CAST and its fight against human trafficking, visit www.castla.org.