Modern Slavery: The Cycle Continues

People assume that society has come a long way since the abolishment of slavery in the United States in the year eighteen sixty-five. The slavery that millions of people experience today proves that theory to be false. Modern slavery has become a major problem in society today.

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It is a worldwide issue by which race and ethnicity are not a major factor in the selection of victims. In fact, women and children are the primarily source of victims for the modern industry.

People who are forced into slavery endure harsh, inhumane treatment at the hands of their capturers and owners. Organizations have developed to fight against the modern slavery industry. However, the industry continues to expand because every nation is not putting forth the same effort to stop the issue. Therefore, more and more people are kidnapped, sold, and forced into slavery every day. Modern-day slavery, also known as contemporary slavery, refers to any form of forced labor for economic exploitation in society today. People secretly began enslaving others when laws were put forth to abolish slavery. The industry continues to thrive as the number of enslaved people grows. In the Scientific American journal, Rodger Doyle states, ‘At least 12.3 million people are subjected to some form of forced labor.’

People are forced to work in factories, brothels, households, and agriculture. There are different terms to describe slavery today, including sex trafficking, domestic servitude, chattel slavery, debt bondage, contract slavery, and forced marriage. Victims are subject to certain rules, duties, and treatment under the different forms of modern enslavement.

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Sex trafficking is a prominent form of modern slavery. The term, trafficking, is derived from the word, traffic, which was invented during the twentieth century to describe the movement of people for inhumane purposes. Sex trafficking describes process of forcing an individual to perform certain favors for sexual exploitation. According to the Economic & Political Weekly journal, around eight million women and children are trafficked internationally each year and eighty percent of them end up in forced sex work. Victims of sex trafficking are forced to endure horrific physical and emotional abuse. They are constantly raped, beaten, and malnourished under the care of their owners. Sex trafficking has developed into one of the largest industries in the United States and other foreign countries.

Domestic servitude is popular in the United States and in foreign countries such as Haiti. Domestic servitude describes the labor in which victims are forced to work as maids, servants, caregivers, and housekeepers. They complete various tasks including: caring for children, prepping meals, and doing laundry. In foreign countries such as Haiti, children are the main victims of domestic servitude. Also known as restaveks, these children are kidnapped or sold into slavery by their poor family members. They are not necessarily owned; however, they are strictly controlled by the families for who they work. They are forced to work until their purchase price is repaid; however, that price tends to increase during their time of enslavement. Because the debt increases, children are most likely to be enslaved until they reach adulthood. Domestic servants spend their lives taking care of a family while they go without the necessities to ensure their own well-being. Chattel slavery is the closest form of modern slavery to ancient slavery. It originated as a way for Europeans to distinguish their own style of slavery from the prominent African slavery. This form of slavery describes people who are born, captured or sold into lifelong slavery. Similar to past slavery, descendants of these slaves are sentenced to the same fate of lifelong enslavement as their parent.

Victims are at the mercy of their owners because they are not allowed any rights. They are thought and treated as though they are merely property. Chattel slavery is mainly found in parts of Africa and other foreign countries such as Mauritania. In her journal article, Contemporary Forms of Slavery, Suzanne Miers states, ‘In Mauritania, however, chattel slavery has lingered on in a more oppressive form and has been the subject of a number of submissions to the Working Group, as well as of an inquiry by the United Nations.’ In areas such as these, the techniques of old slavery are just as prevalent as they were when slavery was legal. Debt bondage is the most common form of modern day slavery. People pledge their labor to ensure the repayment for a debt from a wealthier individual. Most of the time, they are forced to work beyond the original price of the debt. This form of slavery is often passed down throughout generations without any hope of being repaid because of high interest rates and little to no pay. Victims are under the control of the person to whom they owe the debt, but they are not necessarily owned by that individual. They are forced to work through verbal and physical abuse from their superior. Victims endure violence and intimidation upon attempting to break free from debt bondage.

Contract slavery provides a safety net for labor facilities to enslave people into working. People sign contracts that they believe will guarantee reliable employment. In actuality, they are signing themselves up for enslavement. This form of modern slavery is mainly found throughout foreign countries and some parts of North America. Immigrants are constantly tricked into this form of slavery. They are promised employment and fair pay upon signing their contracts. Upon working, they are not paid and forced to work under harmful conditions. Slave holders make it difficult for the victims to leave by threatening them with violence. Victims spend most of their lives enslaved because they fear the consequences of attempting to break free. In some foreign countries, women and young girls are forced into a legally binding form of slavery known as forced marriage. Most of the girls are married off because their poor families are looking for some sort of income or because of cultural traditions. Most parents marry their daughters off to older males from wealthier families. These girls are subject to physical, verbal, and sexual abuse at the hands of their husbands. Early marriage is illegal in the United States and most foreign nations. However, individuals under the age of eighteen can marry in the United States with parental consent. Because of the legal instances, women cannot leave their husbands with ease. Therefore, most of the girls who are forced into marriage are bound to a life of servitude to their husbands and care for children.

Strict laws have been set to prohibit enslavement throughout the world. The thirteenth amendment set the primary restriction of slavery in America. However, people have been secretly enslaving others ever since. Recent laws have been set to strengthen the United States and foreign nations’ stance on the illegality of slavery. In the United States, the Far Rule of 2015 prohibits the sale of goods that were produced through forced labor. The Modern Slavery Act of 2015 was presented by the United Kingdom as an effort to end labor exploitation. Although the industry continues to grow, new laws continue to fight for the demolishment of modern slavery. Organizations have been developed to participate in the fight to end modern slavery. These include: Anti-Slavery International, Urban Light, and A Bridge of Hope. Anti-Slavery International is the oldest human rights organization that is committed to rescuing people from modern enslavement. Urban Light is an organization in Thailand that influences young men to resist living a life of sexual exploitation and trafficking. A Bridge of Hope was founded by Kimberly Benson, a young woman who experienced first-hand sexual exploitation at the age of five. Her organization supports people who look to start a new life after their experience of slavery and servitude. These organizations are putting a major bent in the process to demolish the industry.

Most organizations bring justice upon those who play a role in enslaving others and provide knowledge to make society aware of the on-going issue. Others work for first hand in rescuing victims of enslavement and helping them readjust to society. As organizations continue to develop, the stop of modern slavery could come sooner than later. Slavery was and still is a major issue in the United States and other countries around the world. It has been broken down into forms such as contract slavery, debt bondage, forced marriage, sex trafficking, domestic servitude, and chattel slavery. Although laws have been set to demolish it, the modern slavery industry continues to grow and generate more revenue. Every year, millions of people fall victim to enslavement. Victims are forced endure horrific physical and verbal abuse at the hands of their owners. The main victims, women and children, are subject to a life of sexual exploitation. Organizations continue to develop to join the fight against modern slavery; however, their efforts are not enough to demolish the entire system.

The governments of every nation must be on one accord before the demolition process can begin. In some countries, government officials turn a blind eye to the events that take place amongst the community. Victims rely on non-profit organizations to assist them in escaping and rebuilding their lives after enslavement. Without government assistance, the attempt to destroy the modern slavery industry will be a long and difficult process. With the government, the world could start to put an end to slavery once and for all. Future generations will not have to live in fear of being kidnapped or sold into similar circumstances that generations before them were forced to live through. Together, the world can bring peace and security to all nations. Together, the world can ensure that every person in every country is allowed their natural born rights and freedom.

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Modern Slavery: The Cycle Continues. (2021, Mar 11). Retrieved from

Modern Slavery: The Cycle Continues

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