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Human bondage: Breaking the chains

A festival of another sort was held at Syracuse's Inner Harbor last weekend:

She stood alone on a huge outdoor stage in the suddenly sweltering July heat at Syracuse's Inner Harbor. The diminutive, middle aged Vietnamese woman (her name withheld to protect her identity) spoke softly to a sparse crowd of about 100 people. She told a horrific tale; a terrifying narrative of being taken from her family as a young girl and put to work. It was the mid-1970's, she said, Vietnam was in upheaval and the promise was a better life for children whose families could offer them little. It became a nightmare of travelling and travails in the dark neighborhoods of Singapore and throughout Southeast Asia.

The numbers are staggering

This scene was played out at a gathering in Syracuse this past weekend to bring awareness to and benefit the victims of human trafficking. Slavery and human trafficking is as prevalent today as it was those 30 years ago, as it was 130 years ago, as it was 230 years ago and more. The numbers are staggering. The U.S. State Department estimates 27 million people world-wide are enslaved today and 800,000 are trafficked across international borders each year.

Break the Chains is a coalition of faith based groups that organized the Inner Harbor gathering in an effort to combat these crimes.

Reverend Cindy Rosenau of Christ Living in You Ministries said, "There's about 50,000 people that are trafficked here into the United States from other countries."

She said it's a frightening scene when they arrive. "They are lured, they are deceived you know, 'I'll take you to America,' and when they get here, their passports are taken away and they literally are enslaved in some form of slavery either in restaurants or, we have heard reports of sexual prostitutes now in truck stops all across America," Rosenau said.

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