Legal slavery ended in the United States in 1865, yet the practice of forcing individuals to work against their will, oftentimes in inhumane conditions, continues today. Currently there are around 50,000 people working in forced labor situations in the United States (Bales 47). Although this number is smaller than it was during the 18th century, finding and freeing these individuals is difficult because they are hidden away and exploited. The United States is now at a critical juncture in its struggle to end forced labor. In 2000, the U.S. Government enacted legislation that holds perpetrators of forced labor accountable, and which assists the victims of this crime. Since this date, prosecutions of perpetrators, as well as social and legal services for victims, have increased. However, in order to fully eradicate the problem of forced labor in the United States, the government needs to evaluate the reasons for forced labor within the country, and identify the most useful policies to control this problem.

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