Jun 20 2011

Teen Slaves in New Jersey Forced to Braid Hair Made $4Million for their Captors

Imagine you are looking to get your hair braided and you find a salon where the price is low and the quality of the braids is high. You sit for hours in a chair, while a young girl who could be the same age as your sister or daughter works her artistry on your hair. You pay at the register on your way out, and for the next few days as your family and friends compliment you on your braids, it never occurrs to you that the work you paid such a low price for was performed by a slave.

I always thought of running but I didn’t know nobody. I didn’t know where to go. -Zena


When people think of modern day slavery, they usually associate it with the sex trade — and it seems far away from our everyday lives. The girls in this CNN story came to America from Ghana and Togo as young children, hoping for an education and a better life. Instead, they were forced to work fourteen hours a day, seven days a week for five years in neighborhood beauty shops in Newark, New Jersey. Their captors pocketed $4 million. The young women were never paid a dime.

If you suspect someone is being held against their will, or you want to learn more about how to fight modern slavery, visit the National Human Trafficking Resource Center