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Shocking New Television Documentary on Latin American Human Trafficking and Its Toll to Premiere on PBS in January.

Maryknoll Productions' 'Lives for Sale' Shows Why Immigrants Are Willing to Risk Death and Slavery

MARYKNOLL, N.Y. -- Ninth graph, last sentence of release, phone number listed should read: ...914-941-7636, extension 2495 (sted ...914-941-7636, extension 2945).

The corrected release reads:


Maryknoll Productions' 'Lives for Sale' Shows Why Immigrants Are Willing to Risk Death and Slavery

At a time when immigration issues are on U.S. legislators' front burner, a new documentary looks at the underbelly of illegal immigration, including the black-market trade in human beings. Lives for Sale premieres on PBS stations in January 2007.

The documentary's executive producer, Maryknoll's Larry Rich, says the production strikes at the heart of the immigration debate.

"The same grinding poverty that drives people to risk dying of thirst in the desert in search of a job in the U.S. is the reason people will expose themselves to the danger of being enslaved. Both are born of desperation."

Each year more than one million people risk their lives attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border searching for a better life and to escape devastating poverty. Lives for Sale juxtaposes the "American Dream" with the perilous journey followed each year by desperately poor Central Americans and Mexicans. Women are especially vulnerable to a black market that preys on human beings, as illustrated by two powerful individual stories that emerge: A young Mexican woman and a Guatemalan girl fall victim to human trafficking, their lives shattered by sexual slavery.

According to Rich, human trafficking, is now the third largest illegal industry on the planet, after drugs and arms smuggling.

"Most people trafficked are enslaved as laborers. A Florida sheriff's deputy told me it may look like simple prostitution or domestic servitude, but if you dig deeper, you'll see it is a stark crime on many levels," Rich says.

"These victims may harvest our food or do our gardening, or earn our disapproval as prostitutes, but we do not realize they are, in fact, slaves."

Lives for Sale also exposes the ploys human traffickers use to entrap their victims in a flourishing immigrant-smuggling network. The cross-border journey is fraught with dangers ranging from robbery to debilitating injuries and death. These stories are brought to life, told by the immigrants themselves, people who help them along the way, human smugglers and law enforcement officials.

To see an excerpt from Lives for Sale visit Check local listings for airdates and times. For more information, please contact Larry Rich at 914-941-7636, extension 2495.
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Date:Dec 5, 2006
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