A slave could be selling magazines at your door. A slave could be someone at a nail salon or massage parlor, or it could be someone who has picked the vegetables you put in your salad.
San Clemente's Kimberly McOwen Yim cites statistics that show modern day human trafficking for sex and labor is one of the fastest-growing crimes worldwide, and she's doing what she can to stop it.
Calling herself an "accidental activist," Yim founded the San Clemente Abolitionists in 2010 and recently teamed up with HIV-AIDS prevention activist Shayne Moore to write Refuse to do Nothing: Finding Your Power to Abolish Modern-Day Slavery.
Yim started her work on the cause after a friend invited her to attend a screening of the film about human trafficking called Call and Response, to which she was invited by a friend who was involved in the production.
"I kind of went as a supportive friend, and I completely underestimated what I would see," she said. "I thought I was pretty knowledgeable about the world and how the world works, but I was filled with helplessness and paralysis. I started thinking that if I understood the problem, that it would kind of alleviate the anguish and heartache, but I found out the more I learned, the angrier I got."
Yim started her "soccer mom activist" career with a showings at her San Clemente home of a half-hour documentary, The End of Slavery, by the International Justice Mission. It was there she met Cellar owner Dawn Mendick who joined forces to build the San Clemente Abolitionists.
The Abolitionists don't have their own non-profit. Rather, they organize for and raise money for other anti-slavery organizations such as shelters Love 146 and the Justice Mission.
Refuse to Do Nothing is a research tool to connect interested people -- especially women -- to anti-trafficking organizations and to provide a summary of the problem domestically and globally. However, the real purpose of the book is to convince people it's possible to do something about slavery ― even from suburban California.
The book, published just this year, isn't making money yet, but Yim plans to donate any profits to three or four organizations, including one shelter in the Bay Area reserved for nine- to 12-year-olds who have escaped from sex slavery.
Yim said the book is available so far at Mathom House Books in San Clemente and through Amazon. She'll also appear at a book signing 7-9 p.m. March 11 at the Cellar.