The Benefits of Long-distance Friends

There have been many instances of online communities banding together to help someone in the real world. The latest incident involves Metafilter members who kept two Russian girls from becoming sex slaves when they arrived in the US yesterday. They were promised jobs from a questionable source who directed them to a strip club for an interview. Mefi members went into overdrive to investigate, stop the meeting, and get the girls official assistance despite the insinuation of threats from their contacts. The thread at Ask Metafilter unfolds like a movie script.
Your friend has become a victim of human trafficking. Her 'hosts' know that her fear of immigration authorities may prevent her from seeking help. That fear makes it possible for them to continue selling women into sexual slavery. (And yes, that's exactly what it is. Your friend's passport will be taken, she will be raped, she won't be paid and she may never have the opportunity to contact the outside world again). But i promise you, if you contact the police, they will be far less concerned about the immigration status of two Russian women than they will be about potentially bringing down a human trafficking ring. Some jurisdictions even have specific amnesties which protect the victims of human trafficking in return for information about their traffickers. If your friend won't contact the police, you should call them yourself.
posted by embrangled at 6:02 PM on May 19

Link -via Boing Boing

Update: Newsweek's blog has an interview with one of the principals in the story. -Thanks, dontyoukeep!

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Look, guys, this is real. Trust me, there are two girls a long way from home and several other folks in NYC who wish it wasn't. Metaqfilter regularly bands together to help one of our own with monetary or other Real Life support, abd the persons accepting money are well-known in the community.
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That Newsweek blog post is just retelling the MetaFilter thread. That thread is all we have to go on.

Interesting to note that they are now taking PayPal donations.

I'm willing to believe this is true, but this could just as well be all fake.
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This is the Newsweek blog story about them. AMAZING!
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there's more articles, these are just the first two that popped up in google. kinda hard for newsweek to fake an entire interview i would think....
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