The word "slavery" conjures up images of shackles and transatlantic ships, but more people are enslaved today than any other time in history.

Human trafficking affects more than 40 million people worldwide, with 50,000 peddled into the United States every year, mostly from Mexico and the Philippines. Over half of them are young people bought and sold for sex, and it is most widespread in California, Texas and Florida. Girls comprise 70 percent of all modern slavery victims.

I know slavery has been back in the headlines in recent months, but 21st-century slavery is not being talked about enough, so I'm talking about it with a longtime friend, former network TV and radio show host Hon. Blanquita Cullum.

As part of Voices Against Trafficking, Blanquita joined me to make our listeners aware of a Facebook Live stream forum being presented Wednesday, July 29, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Leading national congressmen, senators, cabinet members, religious and human rights activists will share details on many aspects of the current state of human trafficking in the United States that is no longer just on the street as it's gone online.

It wasn't made illegal in the United States until 2000, when the Trafficking Victims Protection Act was passed, which made it a federal crime.

I support putting pressure on our government officials to implement a comprehensive system to defend all victims of slavery, most especially the hundreds of thousands of blameless children. Please watch the live stream event.

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at phil@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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