Cincinnati, Ohio: Entering America legally is heaven, but illegally is hell; proclaims activist Harold D’Souza a native of Bajpe, Mangalore.
There are approximately 24.9 million people in forced labour worldwide according to the International Labour Organization. But reliable statistics on human trafficking are hard to come by. As Erin Meyer, the anti-human trafficking manager with the Salvation Army explains, survivors often do not know they are being victimized.
Harold D’Souza said; Paying agents a hefty sum to enter the United States of America illegally is actually paying for your own ‘Coffin’ and not ‘Comfort’.
Recently an Indian family from Gujarat froze to death on the Canadian and US Border. This family paid Rs. 65 Lakhs to enter America undocumented. Jagdish Patel, 39, Vaishali Patel, 37, and their children Vihangi, 11, and Dharkmik, 3, died from exposure due to frigid cold near Manitoba, Canada in January 19th, 2022.
“We certainly do work with individuals who don’t self-identify, maybe they don’t self-identify as being a victim. It’s a very disempowering term and a disempowering concept,” Meyer says. It may take survivors years to come forward.
This was the case with Harold D’Souza. He’s the survivor of labour trafficking and worked without pay for more than a year before reporting the abuse. Now he is the founder of Eyes Open International and works to help victims of human trafficking.
Joining Cincinnati Edition to discuss Human Trafficking Awareness Month were Ohio Department of Public Safety Office of Criminal Justice Services State Anti-Trafficking Coordinator Maria Busch; The Salvation Army Anti-Human Trafficking Manager and End Slavery Cincinnati Coalition Manager Erin Meyer; and Eyes Open International President and Co-founder Harold D’Souza.
With award-winning news from 91.7 WVXU, Cincinnati Public Radio reaches over 250,000 listeners each week.
On January 26th Lucy May WVXU Cincinnati Edition Host interviewed international inspirational survivor advocate Harold D’Souza on; ‘Why the prevalence of human trafficking is so hard to track.
If you or anyone you suspect is a victim of labour or sex trafficking in America call 1-888-373-7888 the National Human Trafficking Hotline.