FROM Maria Suarez
Slavery in America 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.
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