Slavery’s staying power

On a different note, this is something else I came across today worth sharing:

It’s not a relic of the past; it’s here and now and ensnaring more people than ever.

By E. Benjamin Skinner
March 23, 2008

Many people are surprised to learn that there are still slaves. Many imagined that slavery died along with the 360,000 Union soldiers whose blood fertilized the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment. Many thought that slavery was brought to an end around the world when most countries outlawed it in the 19th century.

But, in fact, there are more slaves today than at any point in history. Although a precise census is impossible, as most masters keep their slaves hidden, baseline estimates from United Nations and other international researchers range from 12 million to 27 million slaves worldwide. The U.S. State Department estimates that from 600,000 to 800,000 people — primarily women and children — are trafficked across national borders each year, and that doesn’t count the millions of slaves who are held in bondage within their own countries.

Read the whole article via the Los Angeles Times.


  1. “there are more slaves today than at any point in history.”

    There are more humans today than at any point in history. The percentage of humans that are slaves – the percentage of countries where slavery is openly practices – the percentage of countries where slavery is common but secretive – is not at all, at all, at all the same as what it was at any point in history.

    Slavery was the norm in all places and at all times. Now it is not. Secular ethics and advances in science made it so. In those countries where slavery is most common today, what is the majority belief? Atheism? Islam? You get one guess.

  2. I literally just finished Dr. Kevin Bales’ “Ending Slavery” book last night. It’s a sequel to his “Disposable People” which introduced the concept to an unwitting public, and “Ending Slavery” gives detailed processes that individuals, groups and governments can and should take to end slavery. Bales is at the forefront of the fight to free slaves, and his work was an incredible contribution to the corpus of knowledge. Rather than just guilting people, he offers solutions. Highly recommended for anyone whose interest is piqued by this article.

  3. Thanks, Lupa. I might check those out. =]

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