Stopping Human Trafficking, One Slave at a Time

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Each year, more than 27 million people are trafficked illegally around the world. Stories of modern-day slavery and human trafficking are heartbreaking. But what can one person do about it? Aaron Cohen found a way to help victims. He put his “skills” as a former drug-addicted, rock-and- roller (he used to work with the front man for Jane's Addiction) to infiltrate brothels from Cambodia to Colombia, from Iraq to Israel. Then he would buy the freedom of enslaved girls. It’s a controversial approach to dealing with the problem of human trafficking. Aaron Cohen has just written a book called Slave Hunter: One Man's Global Quest to Free Victims of Human Trafficking, with journalist Christine Buckley. They both join The Takeaway to discuss the work and the controversy. Cohen is the founder of Abolish Slavery.

"It is controversial – the idea of contributing to a market [for young girls]. But I saw it from more of a micro-perspective: there was this child in front of me and I had to make a choice. What am I going to do for this child? I thought that if I could go one child at a time, that micro would add up to macro later."
—Aaron Cohen on his decision to buy the freedom of young trafficking victims

Jaunty Therny, a young trafficking victim, seen here at age 13 when Aaron Cohen met her in a bar in Cambodia. He bought her freedom.


Christine Buckley and Aaron Cohen

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