Museum of Modern Day Slavery

John Cañamar, Edior

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In a small building at 5818 Southwest Freeway, Interstate 69, in Houston, Texas sits a museum that is not on many people’s radar.

In fact, many people are blind to the subject matter that is preserved and documented there. It is the Museum of Modern Day Slavery.

Now you may be thinking slavery ended back on December 6, 1865, when the 13th amendment that abolished slavery in the United States was ratified. While that may be true, slave owners in the past as in the present, only care about one thing, the money their slaves can generate for them and not what the letter of the law states.

Today slave owners do not have their subjects out in the fields picking crops, which most people may have in mind when they hear the term slave, no they have them on their backs performing sexual acts.

Yes, prostitution may be the oldest profession in the world, but not all those in the industry are there by choice.

Today’s slaves may not have been brought over to this country by the thousands and sold out in auctions to the highest bidder in the town square; they are still, however; held against their will and forced to do unspeakable tasks and sold amongst owners like pieces of property.

Today’s slave is not the strong man who can plow a field or a woman who can spit out babies so that the owner’s assets can grow as if stocks on the market that mature and split making the owner a small fortune every time it happens.

No today’s slaves are the young girls and boys that run away from home to escape their terrible situations and end up in the claws of a pimp who will turn them out until they no longer fulfill the desires of the trick’s need.

Today’s slave is the helpless mother and daughter that travel thousands of miles for a better life and end up being kept in the back of a spa or cantina to pay off a coyote’s, human smuggler, fees that will never be paid because the brothel or madam adds taxes and living expenses on top of the “travel” fees.

These are the stories that are told at this museum. The Museum of Modern Day Slavery itself has a history in the industry it’s telling the story of.

Not too long ago, roughly four years back, the museum was a pleasure spa itself. Cat French, a former HCC professor, held a prayer rally outside of the building that at the time was known as Angela’s Day Spa. The spa was just that in name, it was actually a modern-day brothel that had young Asian girls displayed behind Plexiglas for customers to pick as if at a vending machine.

French the founder of Elijah Rising, the organization that helped shut down Angela’s Day Spa, runs the museum to enlighten the community of the reality of the sex trade industry.

The museum is split into two sides, the history of prostitution around the world and the modern-day form of prostitution in the United States.

On the history side, there are displays of old routes slave ships would have traveled and propaganda both in favor and against prostitution.

The modern-day side of the museum has displays with dirty mattresses and make shift side tables that are actual artifacts that have been found in raids from around Houston.

A display hangs in the area that was once the shower area, not for the girls but the customers, so that they could be checked for weapons or police wires. The display shows how frequent the girls are moved around the country to prevent being found by family or law enforcement.

The back room houses one of the rooms that was inside of the building when it was a spa. An eerie feeling still hangs inside of the building reminding you that sex trafficking is modern day slavery and it is a very dirty and dark business.
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If you find yourself in need of help you can contact Elijah Rising at 832-628-3439 or at www.elijahrising.org

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