In Oklahoma, teenagers from small towns were sold for sex in truck stops along Interstate 40, as depicted in the award-winning documentary film, “Not My Life.” A form of slavery can be found in every home, school, church, workplace and shopping mall in Oklahoma. That's because many everyday products are made by slaves in sweatshop factories overseas, or are made with slavery-tainted raw materials.
Modern slavery is an international crime, like terrorism. It must be met with a coordinated federal effort to end this complex and cross-border problem. Throughout Oklahoma, churches, schools, book clubs and youth groups have raised funds and awareness to fight human trafficking. They understand that in the land of the free, slavery is an abomination. We should join them in a simple message to Oklahoma's congressional delegation: Support reauthorization of the TVPA by becoming a co-sponsor or by dropping objections that prevent the bill from moving to a vote.
It's never too late to take a stand for justice and freedom.
Bales is a co-founder of the nonprofit group Free the Slaves (www.freetheslaves.net), and the author of several books on slavery.