Slavery Today | Sojourners

Slavery Today

Rose Marie Berger’s article “Slaves in Our Family” (February 2012) is a reminder to us that slavery in our country didn’t end with the Emancipation Proclamation.

I retired four years ago after running a ministry for ex-offenders and homeless individuals. It wasn’t unusual for young men to come to me after escaping from a farm labor camp. They told me that someone pulled up to the homeless shelter where they were staying and offered them good-paying jobs. The homeless men were then taken to a farm labor camp where they were provided with drugs, alcohol, and the services of prostitutes, which they paid for out of their meager earnings. Within a short time they were in debt to the leaders of the camp.

 If they tried to leave, they were pistol-whipped or beaten. The men who came to me were the lucky ones who were able to escape.

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