Slavery Today: A Clear and Present Danger

By | May 23, 2008

Slavery never ended in the United States; it continues here and across the globe, facilitated by globalization, corruption and greed. There are more people enslaved today – controlled by violence and forced to work without pay – than at any time in human history.

Experts put the number of slaves at 27 million worldwide. These men and women work across many sectors of the global economy, raking in profits for the criminals who hold them against their will. The US State Department estimates that 17,500 slaves are brought into the United States every year. An estimated 50,000 slaves are forced to work as prostitutes, farm workers and domestic servants in the US.

Republican presidential nominee John McCain recently mentioned domestic slavery during a stump speech. He pledged to establish a task force to coordinate various federal law enforcement agencies to target human trafficking – the process of smuggling slaves between countries. However, the Think Progress blog pointed out that such an agency already exists. Shortly after the speech, Democratic National Committee spokesperson Damien LaVera pointed out in an email that McCain had complained about and voted against a $200,000 earmark intended to fund a conference on human trafficking in 2001. “Once again McCain’s earmark obsession conflicts with his campaign rhetoric,” Lavera wrote.

McCain’s campaign failed to return repeated calls for comment on the issue.

This was the first mention of modern slavery on the campaign trail. Little attention has been paid to the issue by the media, with stories about isolated incidents of slavery in other countries occasionally making headlines. However, international activists and scholars have been leading a movement to eradicate global slavery.

Free The Slaves, an organization founded by acclaimed human rights activist and scholar Kevin Bales, works on the front lines of slavery to find, rescue and rehabilitate slaves. – to

5 thoughts on “Slavery Today: A Clear and Present Danger

  1. TheAdlerian

    I’ve said this for years.

    Capitalism works in the west by having hidden slaves in other countries and wage slaves in the west .

  2. Xeno Post author

    Yeah, wage slavery doesn’t count, but if it did, there’d probably be only a few free people in the world. I wonder what it will be like in 500 years.

  3. Ann

    “Wage slavery” does count, Xeno, whether it’s called debt bondage, indentured servitude or whatever. Sometimes definitions get muddled for the benefit of the overlord. A slave is deprived of freedom and compelled to work, which is not far removed from being compelled to work for a livelihood thereby losing one’s freedom – i.e. wage slavery.

    A few years ago there was a lot of news concerning wealthy Brazilian landowners enticing the jobless poor with wonderful offers of high paying jobs only to bind them to unending debts. It was called “slavery.”

    This, Xeno, is what happens in the United States, sorry to say about country that talks so highly about democracy and its freedoms. You lose your freedoms, because of debts,
    sometimes overwhelming debts. And, you are enticed into debt not by wealthy landlords, but by the media, advertising and other means about wonderful products or what-not that supposedly makes one think life will be a bit better if that product was purchased. So, Americans go out and buy cars, houses and all sorts of stuff hoping for that little better life, but only to find themselves in debt. Except for a fortunate few, being in debt in America burdens people to meaningless jobs working only for only a paycheck! Or, worse they are sometimes forced to work more than one job “to make ends meet.” I read, once, that people in the United States work more hours in one year than people in any other country.

    This is NOT good, despite what our current President says. Once he was questioned by a woman from a pre-screened audience who described herself as working 3 jobs and our President interrupted her saying something to the effect, isn’t that wonderful, only in America can a person work 3 jobs. This I say, bullsh*t, Mr. President … Ah, excuse me, Xeno.

  4. Ann

    Speaking of which, I found this quote:

    “The level of U.S. household debt has risen consistently over the course of the century, climbing from just 33.2 percent of disposable income in 1949 to 102.2 percent in 2000, and to 131.8 percent in 2005, making it the highest ever measured in our national history.” – Nan Mooney, from her book “(Not) Keeping Up with Our Parents,” in Utne Reader, 5-6/08, p. 40

    And, on a more serious note:

    “It would be easier to pay off the national debt overnight than to neutralize the long-range effects of our national stupidity” – Frank Zappa

  5. Xeno Post author

    I just wrote a long reply, submitted it… and it disappeared. WordPress is NOT impressing me today. Anyway…

    Okay, I agree, in part, Ann.

    I feel suckered into buying a house which I will end up paying over 1/2 million dollars for over the course of 30 years and the place, according to the county assessor is only worth $225,000. ( Your post is helping me to decide to get myself free.)

    Thanks to some good advice over the years I have been completely free of credit card debt for over 10 years.

    I pay off my new cars in 3 yrs by making large payments. That keeps finance charges down.

    As far as feeling like a wage slave… well, I enjoy my job, but it is true that my house is eating WAY too much of my take home pay. In other words, way too much of my hard earned money is going to a predatory lender based on a false promise that my home will increase in value.

    The “whip” that has been keeping me paying my lender is the threat of the destruction of my good credit. My calculations say I won’t be able to afford the place in a few years when my Adjustable Rate adjusts, so I might as well save some money and stop paying now.

    I have not been able to get an answer about how to do the least damage to my credit and still get out of this money pit.

    I know the Alderian thinks I should stick it out because prices will go back up, but with the energy crisis looming and a possible depression on the way I think home prices will stay low for 5 to 7 years. By the time my credit is healed I can save up enough down payment to buy a nice place with a garden.

    Home ownership has not impressed me. Home owners associations have more rules than apartment managers. I’ve been trying for two years to get my HOA to fix my damn driveway. I’m going to rent a jackhammer today and deduct from my HOA dues. They will levey fines no doubt and I’ll be in a legal mess, but I’m too pissed off to care right now.

    I’m angry about a lot of things today. A jack hammer is just what I need.

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