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Slavery was abolished in America in 1865, but Los Angeles is a center for modern-day trafficking in human beings. The Free the Slaves Freedom Awards are being given out here tonight. We also hear a familiar voice from above the Arctic Circle.  On our rebroadcast of today’s To the Point, President Obama has once again promised to revoke “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” but legalizing gays and lesbians in the military will take an act of Congress. We hear that even the Pentagon wants the issue out of the closet.

Banner image: A sweatshop worker called 'Jayne' (2nd L) cries on the shoulder of her friend 'Kanit' (3rd L) during a press conference announcing the filing of a federal law suit by 62 Thai immigrants against "garment contractors." Photo: Dan Groshong/AFP/Getty Images

Main Topic 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Comes Out of the Closet 28 MIN, 44 SEC

At a gay rights dinner on Saturday night, President Obama repeated a promise he made during last year's campaign, to revoke Bill Clinton's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. Now, from the Pentagon's highest levels comes a call for repeal of the ban against homosexuals in the military. An article for the Joint Chiefs of Staff says there's "no scientific evidence" that gays and lesbians damage morale."

Bryan Bender, Politico (@BryanDBender)
James Bowman, Ethics and Public Policy Center (@JamesVBowman)
Nathaniel Frank, Senior Fellow, UC Santa Barbara's Palm Center
Nan Hunter, Georgetown University Law Center

Unfriendly Fire

Nathaniel Frank

Making News Los Angeles Struggles over Police Funding in Bad Economy 4 MIN, 42 SEC

Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti says "there are no fights right now" between council members and Mayor Villaraigosa, at least over the issue of how many cops make up the LA Police Department. To save money, the Mayor has agreed to cancel Police Academy classes for new recruits next month, but only as long as it doesn't reduce the overall size of the department. David Zahniser is following negotiations for the LA Times.

David Zahniser, Los Angeles Times (@DavidZahniser)

Main Topic Slavery in America 11 MIN, 25 SEC

When state and federal agents raided an El Monte garment factory in 1995, they confirmed that slavery is a reality in modern America. Nationwide, some 40 to 50,000 people are being held in various forms of involuntary servitude. That's according to Kevin Bales, president and co-founder of Free the Slaves, a Washington nonprofit that's in Los Angeles tonight to give out its Free the Slaves Freedom Awards. Maria Suarez was sold into slavery here in Los Angeles at the age of 15. Purchased for $200, she was kept for five years in the home of a man who subsequently was murdered. The killer blamed Maria, and she served 23 years in prison before she was exonerated.

Kevin Bales, President and Co-founder, Free the Slaves
Maria Suarez, spokesperson against trafficking and slavery

The Slave Next Door

Kevin Bales and Ron Soodalter

Reporter's Notebook Matt Holzman, Arctic Explorer 8 MIN, 20 SEC

Own Matt Holzman, producer of The Business and voice of The Business Brief, is about as far away from Hollywood as you can get! He's in the Arctic Circle on a 124-food two-masted schooner on an Arctic adventure.

Matt Holzman, Producer, 'The Document' (@KCRW_Matt)

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