When readers hear about “modern slavery” in America or abroad, they may roll their eyes and assume that’s an exaggeration. Slavery? Really? Modern slavery?
If you’re one of the doubters, then listen to Poonam Thapa, a teenage girl I met here in Nepal, where she is putting her life back together after being sold to a brothel.
And if you think, as Amnesty International suggested recently, that the solution is to decriminalize the commercial sex trade around the world, then pay special heed.
Poonam was poor and uneducated when a woman offered an escape in the form of a well-paying job. “You can have a better life,” Poonam remembers the woman saying. “And if you make good money, you will be respected by your father. You can help your family.”
So Poonam, then age 12, ran off with the woman. When Poonam was eventually deposited in a brothel in Mumbai, India, she was puzzled. “I didn’t even know what a brothel was,” she recalls.