12/19/2012 04:42 pm ET

Slavery's Global Comeback

RANGOON, Burma -- Earlier this year, Ko Lin, 21 at the time, left his hometown of Bago, 50 miles northeast of Rangoon, along with a friend to look for work in Myawaddy, near the Thai border. The two found jobs there as day laborers loading and offloading goods, anything from rice to motorcycles, that were being illicitly transported by truck in and out of Thailand. After a month, Ko Lin had saved up the equivalent of about US$150 and decided to rejoin his family in Bago. Stopping first to pray at a local pagoda, the two friends met a super-amiable young woman who ended up pitching them an offer to work in Thailand. Her uncle, she said, could arrange a great job for them there.