Mira Sorvino on Modern-Day Slavery

The Oscar-winning actress Mira Sorvino is speaking out against slavery. It's hard to believe, but millions of people, mostly women, are bought and sold every year and that outrage was on the president's agenda this week.

President Bush [on tape]: We're going after criminal organizations and 'coyotes' that traffic in human beings. These people are the worst of the worst. They prey on innocent life. They take advantage of people who want to better their own lives.

Sorvino has taken up the cause, leading Amnesty International's campaign to stop violence against women and starring in a Lifetime mini-series, "Human Trafficking."

Mira Sorvino: It's a very, very weighty and timely subject because right now internationally anywhere from 800,000 to 1 million people, mostly women and girls, are trafficked every year, sold into slavery. And in the United States we have between 17,000 to 100,000 people trafficked in every year, and when I read this script for the "Human Trafficking" mini-series, I was really impressed with how moving it was.

The word 'trafficking' people generally associate with drug trafficking, and they think of crossing borders. And when they hear human trafficking, they think of it as just sort of a smuggling operation of people. To be trafficked, you don't have to be smuggled.

You're fraudulently put into a situation where you are then coerced to work for little or no pay. You are abused, often sexually, even if it's not sexual slave labor. You have no basic human rights. You are owned by another person. It is slavery. And I wasn't aware that it was happening in America. I really didn't think that within our shores we had people being kept as slaves and worked to death, essentially.

If one out of a hundred people who watches this show makes a phone call when they see something strange in their community, that will make a huge difference to many lives of people who are trafficked.

And every time you meet a person who was actually trafficked, you get choked up. You can hardly talk because you feel like, You know, what have I done to compare to that? I mean, what have I undergone? They are treated as people who have no basic human dignity or no rights. And I find that shocking and horrifying. And I think, I don't know, that most Americans will, too, once they know more about it.

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