Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sex trafficking in Charlotte?

Posted By on Wed, Apr 21, 2010 at 9:53 AM

According to Aaron Cohen, yes.

Aaron Cohen, author and former rock star, visited UNC Charlotte recently, and, wow, did he have a tale to tell.

"As far as I knew, slavery ended in the Civil War," he said.

However, his eyes soon were opened. In Sudan, he met a young man who had been a slave since the age of eight. "No bed. No 'I love you's.' He drank from the same troughs as livestock," Cohen said.

"It made me wonder what I had been doing all this time," he added.

Before long, Cohen was helping law enforcement agencies set up undercover sting operations in Central and South America and the Middle East. In 2009, his book "Slave Hunter: One Man's Global Quest to Free Victims of Human Trafficking" published.

The statistics are staggering: An estimated 27 million slaves are in our world today.

Since he became involved in human trafficking activism, Cohen said, he's learned a lot about slavery. For instance, he said, "Organized crime families [in Mexico] are killing themselves over your market."

Wait. Stop there. Did you catch that? Organized crime families are killing themselves over your market.

Now, check this out, from MSNBC:

A reputed boss of the Gambino organized crime family and 13 other people were charged on Tuesday with an array of crimes, including what prosecutors called new territory for the mob: sex trafficking of a minor.

Papers filed in federal court in Manhattan allege that Gambino soldiers and associates recruited prostitutes at strip clubs, including a 15-year-old, and advertised their services online.

Back to Aaron:

The new trend is white slavery. One girl, he said, can be sold for more than $150,000.

He cautioned the audience. "Don't answer modeling ads. Don't meet people from MySpace," he said.

And, he said, Charlotte isn't immune. In fact, Cohen said Charlotte is a "hub stop" for human trafficking. From here, he said, slaves are distributed to the north eastern United States.

"I 100-percent guarantee," he said, "there are slaves within a stone's throw of this place."

Read more about Aaron's visit to UNC Charlotte at There, you'll find a list of ways you, too, can become a 21st Century Emancipator. You'll also find out how to stay in touch with Aaron as he travels the globe on his quest to end slavery.

Remember this news about a sex slave operation in Charlotte from a couple years ago?

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