Shandra Woworuntu, human trafficking survivor and activist, is seen on a camera monitor during an interview with AFP January 28, 2014 at Humanity United in Washington, DC. (AFP PHOTO / Karen BLEIER)
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With those few words, a young Indonesian with big dreams of a better life found herself catapulted into the murky underground world of sex slavery and violence.But Shandra Woworuntu, then 25, was not trapped in a sordid brothel plying clients in some far-flung Asian tourist hotspot.Nothing had prepared the slight, softly spoken, shy woman to become one of the thousands of men, women and children lured into the hidden world of sex trafficking and forced labor in the United States every year.I will earn some money and I will go back after six months," she told AFP.But on her very first night on U.S. soil, she was put to work in a New York brothel, before being passed from pimp to pimp – a Malaysian known as Johnnie Wong, a Taiwanese guy, a man who only spoke Cantonese, and even an American.The Alliance To End Slavery and Trafficking estimates about 14,000 to 17,000 men, women and children are smuggled illegally into the U.S. every year to work in the sex trade or in factories, farms and bars as forced labor.The group is calling for greater government controls on the recruiters who lure vulnerable people to U.S. shores every year.
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