A story on NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” caught my attention today: “The Hidden Faces of Modern Day Slavery”. The story talks about fear and intimidation to entrap people into labor, sex trafficking and many other areas not often thought of as being part of this issue. One commenter told a story of a chinese boy who had been kept as a laborer through intimidation. Those responsible for keeping him entrapped told him that with a single phone call they could have his family in China harmed in some way. What would he be able to do to combat this kind of treatment? Another told a story of a restaurant owner who held the passports of two parents who were in the United States getting medical treatment for their child. The owner threatened to have them deported unless they worked for little wages. Without their passports they were too afraid to do anything. The FBI did nothing when they were called. A freak accident killed the owner and they were able to get out of the situation. They are still afraid of deportation, because they still do not have their passports. The focus of the interview was to raise awareness situations where this may be happening and to report cases to their hotline.
I also thought of other areas where intimidation does not put people into slavery, but impacts their lives in significantly negative ways. Bullying is one such instance. Threats of being forced to do something or lose your job is another. What are some other areas where fear and intimidation play a part in our decisions?