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posted: 5/25/2014 12:01 AM

One our oldest and darkest legacies

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One our oldest and darkest legacies

I've been following the headlines out of Nigeria regarding the mass abduction of school girls by Boko Haram. It seems that Boko Haram intends to sell them into sex slavery and if that's true they would become the latest victims in one of the world's oldest and darkest legacies.

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I first learned about human trafficking as a junior in college, while proofing a paper about the role that the Internet plays in facilitating it. Human trafficking is the illegal movement of people, typically for forced labor or sexual exploitation, for profit.

It affects millions around the world, particularly in the east, and respects no boundaries or social strata. As a doting big brother to a little girl adopted from China, I'm acutely aware of how vulnerable orphans and foster children are. It's a crime so subtle, we could be interacting with victims on a daily basis and never know.

Scale alone seems to be the reason we're informed of the Nigerian incident. Scale also poses the biggest risk to obscuring the real danger that human trafficking poses to our community. While single abductions of 200 children are rare in the U.S. the estimated scale of the human trafficking operation in the Chicago area far exceeds that many victims.

That's why I was happy to learn of the work that Congressman Peter Roskam is doing to protect potential victims. He has been fighting for legislation that would help prevent youth in our foster care system from falling prey to sex traffickers and for legislation that would mandate a national strategy to combat human trafficking from the U.S. Attorney General. As concerned members of the community, it's our responsibility to stand behind the efforts of leaders like Congressman Roskam to ensure our community remains safe.

Alexander Gendron

St. Charles

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