Human bondage hits U.S. heartland

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Illicit trade for labor, sex generates billions in profits

By Chuck Neubauer

The Washington Times

8:18 p.m., Sunday, March 27, 2

People were shocked when federal prosecutors charged the owners of a motel in Oacoma, S.D., a town of fewer than 500, with keeping Philippine women in virtual slavery, forcing them to work 20-hour days under the threat of violence and taking back their paychecks after they had been endorsed to deposit in their own accounts.

Prosecutors said the enslaved women performed cleaning and front-desk duties at the motel and were expected to work second jobs at fast-food restaurants. Every aspect of their lives, according to records in the 2007 case, was controlled, including what they ate, where they lived, what they wore and to whom they spoke.

Human traffickers had crept unnoticed into the small Lyman County community, located on the west bank of the Missouri River 80 miles southeast of Pierre, the state’s capital. But the townsfolk soon learned that Interstate 90, which roars right by Oacoma, is part of the “Midwest Pipeline,” the superhighway used to deliver trafficking victims to cities across the country.

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: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/mar/27/human-bondage-hits-us-heartland/

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