Sam McCahon '83
Sam McCahon ’83 did not believe he could become a lawyer. A product of a blue-collar district of Chicago, his aspirations did not fall farther than the factories that lined the city streets. He joined the military after high school graduation on a whim. While serving 31 years in the Army, he found the time to attend Drury and gain his jumpstart to a career in international law and public service.
McCahon credits Drury with dramatically influencing his career path by giving him the critical thinking and writing skills that allowed him to succeed in law. When a speaker from the Christian Legal Society visited Drury, McCahon learned that he could make an impact upon society using law, sparking a desire to practice law. Armed with the drive and the skills to succeed, McCahon accepted a position at the Missouri Parole and Probation Office, where he became immersed in reality therapy- a philosophy that teaches the value of accountability and the futility of blaming society.
While serving his country in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Kuwait, McCahon became aware of widespread labor trafficking throughout his combat areas. Upon further research, he was horrified to learn that labor trafficking on US government contracts was the rule, not the exception. This practice depends on recruiters tricking residents of developing countries into accepting a position in a combat zone far away from their homeland with the promise of receiving a salary far larger than the money they will actually receive. In order to receive a job on a US government contract, these people must pay their recruiter an unaffordable fee, resulting in taking out a loan with an exorbitant interest rate. These new government employees do not realize that they are trapped until they are shipped to a foreign combat zone, paid a low wage, and realize that they cannot return home due to the inability to pay back their loans. They become indentured servants to the US government- modern day slaves. McCahon and his business partner began advocating the elimination of this practice by writing articles and public speaking. Now, they have participated in drafting two bills that are currently making their way through Congress, establishing measures to limit and eventually end labor trafficking on US government contracts. In addition, they are working with the White House to establish measures to abolish these practices.
From the streets of Chicago to Drury Lane, Sam McCahon gained the confidence and skills to get him to the top of Capitol Hill and fight to end injustice. Now splitting his time between offices in India and Washington DC, McCahon plans to continue his crusade to end labor trafficking on government contracts until it is completely eradicated.
Article written by Megan Waterman, current student.
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