Slavery Still A World Problem

September 8, 1999

Despite scant coverage from American journalists, slavery continues to plague the people of a number of countries. It occurs in many forms, including:

  • Bonded child workers in India and Pakistan.
  • Indentured servitude for children in Lesotho that differs little from outright slavery.
  • Prostitution in Thailand.
  • As a form of religious persecution of Christians and animists in southern Sudan.

Sudan is an especially blatant case, in which raiders from the Muslim north send raiding parties south to seize people who are later sold for $50 a piece. According to one report, they are worked harder, fed less and beaten more than were slaves in the American South.

A number of groups, notably Christian Solidarity International (CIS), have embarked on an effort to buy slaves in order to set them free. The Swiss-based organization has received donations from around the world, including from American churches and high school students. However, some have criticized the program, saying it only encourages more slave taking.

CIS has run into another problems, observers report. Because of their actions against Sudan, that government has complained to the United Nations. If Sudan's complaint is recognized, CÎS could lose its non-governmental organization status, thus its ability to speak at the U.N. Should the U.N. side with Sudan, one observer notes, it would permit a slave-taking country to stifle an organization that struggles for slave-freeing.

Source: A. M. Rosenthal, "When Is It News?" New York Times, September 3, 1999, and Todd Bensman, "Cries for Freedom," Dallas Morning News, May 27, 1999.

 

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