In the past few years, human trafficking has gained much needed public attention, but we are far from where we need to be. According to FBI.org, human trafficking/involuntary servitude is believed to be the third largest criminal activity in the world. It includes forced labor, domestic servitude, and commercial sex trafficking. This trade does not discriminate, it includes US citizens and foreigners alike and has no demographic restrictions. The individuals held captive in these organizations are often held in unsanitary and inhumane conditions and forced to work for little or no money. They are coerced into captivity through the promise of a paying job that will support a starving family, threatened with the lives of those they love, and tripped of their identities and all ties that give them hope of freedom. But the problems goes even further. There are laws in the US that allow businesses to “employ” those with physical and mental disabilities for less than minimum wage. Daily, migrant workers are required to work long hours doing demanding physical labor only to be underpaid, and they are often the victims of assault and robbery, stripped of their hard-earned wages. We have a long way to go as a society before we can rid the world of these crimes against humanity.
Writing Captive was my way of shedding light on the underworld where human beings continue to be bought and sold for the pleasure and financial gain of others. It is my hope that we will all be a little more attentive to the things around us and alert authorities when we see evidence of these crimes.
Each character I created for this book represented a real person, not someone I know, but those I know exist out there in the underworld. In a romance we are given the certainty of a happy ending, but for the real victims there is little hope. We are heading in the right direction, but there is much left to do if we are going to put an end to these crimes.
If you or someone you know is the victim of human trafficking or if you have information about a potential trafficking situation, please call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) at 1-888-373-7888.
I want to offer a special thank you to all those engaged in the war against human trafficking. Please join us in this fight. To quote John F. Kennedy, “One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.”