Slavery is Still Alive in the XXIst Century

The natural state of a human being is freedom. He or she was born to be free. Just for the sake of being a human being he or she is granted the universal right of freedom.

We all cherish freedoms like: freedom of movement, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of thought or freedom of education.

Too much blood has been shed to uphold these freedoms in our societies through the pass of time. Yet slavery still exists under our noses.

Even though we intellectually accept the fact that all human beings are free from the moment of their birth, not all societies take heed to this universal human right. Slavery was supported by great philosophers in Ancient Greece like Socrates, Plato or Aristotle. For them it was normal for a Greek citizen to own and trade slaves. Even in America it was socially accepted to buy slaves at the slave market and use them as productivity tools in the tobacco plantations of the deep South.

Slavery is a social-economic system under which certain individuals—known as slaves—are deprived of personal freedom and compelled to work.

Slaves are held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase, or birth, and are deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to receive compensation (such as wages) in return for their labor.

Although outlawed in nearly all countries today, slavery is still practiced in some parts of the world. According to a broad definition of slavery used by Kevin Bales of Free the Slaves, an advocacy group linked with Anti Slavery International, there are 27 million people (though some put the number as high as 200 million) in virtual slavery today, spread all over the world. This is happening now, even as we speak, at the turn of the Third Millennium.

This was evidenced by writer Benjamin Skinner while researching his book, “A Crime So Monstrous: Face-to-Face with Modern-Day Slavery”. Skinner met with slaves and traffickers in 12 different countries, arriving at the startling conclusion: there are more slaves on the planet today than at any time in human history.

Even though slavery is nothing new, something disturbing has changed however—the price of a person. After adjusting for inflation, Skinner found that, “In 1850, a slave would cost roughly $30,000 to $40,000—in other words it was like investing in a Mercedes. Today you can go to Haiti and buy a 9-year-old girl to use as a sexual and domestic slave for $50. The devaluation of human life is incredibly pronounced.”

Skinner obtained this specific figure while making a trip to one the poorest countries in Latin America. In the fall of 2005, he visited Haiti, which has one of the highest concentrations of slaves anywhere in the world.

Here he was told initially told he could get a 9-year-old sex partner/house slave for $100, but he bargained it down to $50. This is absolutely preposterous; the price of a person is cheaper than a dinner for two at a down town restaurant!

“The thing that struck me more than anything afterwards was how incredibly banal the transaction was. It was as if I was negotiating on the street for a used stereo.”

This sad experience compelled Skinner to write a revealing book about the monstrosity of modern-day slavery. He saw it face-to-face.

You can read an excerpt of “Chapter 1: The Riches of the Poor” of Skinner’s book by clicking your mouse here. Once you do, when you go to bed this evening think for a moment about your freedom and how it feels to be a free person. I’m sure Nelson Mandela knows what Benjamin Skinner is writing about. Do you?

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