Naples Daily News (subscription), FL
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Drugs long have been the most lucrative illegal cash cow for smugglers, topping the list as the No. 1 illicit trade run into this country.
But another vein has been tapped as a veritable gold mine for men and women who make their living in the underground world of trafficking.
Today, people are bought and sold like commodities. And they are funneled between countries as buyers and sellers swap cash for workers in back alleys and border towns that once were home to such exchanges over guns and drugs.
America waged virtual wars against drugs and guns in the 1980s and 1990s.
But trafficking in people is gaining an edge and earning smugglers more money than ever before, investigators say.
Of the three most prevalent types of trafficking crimes, drugs still rank in the top slot, said Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney Doug Molloy, second-in-command at the federal prosecutor's office in Fort Myers. But human trafficking now has replaced gun-running for second place, he said, kicking guns into third.
"It has surpassed trafficking in arms. It will soon surpass drugs,"
Molloy said. "About 800,000 to 1 million people are slaves now (around) the globe.
"Slavery's about money," Molloy said. "Drugs go into somebody's arms or up somebody's nose."
But people, if kept healthy enough to work hard, produce a much more unlimited supply of cash for their captors, he explained.
According to a report by Florida State University's Center for the Advancement of Human Rights, replacing a slave in the South before the Civil War cost the modern equivalent of $40,000. But today, people can be purchased for as little as $90.
Drugs, Slaves, Guns.
Our government takes full advantage of these three revenue sources.
Example: If you smoke a joint, the govenment's multi-billion dollar a year Drug War will send men with guns to force you into the slave labor camps of the prison-industrial complex.
Question: How is the government's participation in the forced labor market morally superior to that of the "smugglers" they are prosecuting?