NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Slavery Still Alive And All Too Well

November 29, 2000

While most people associate slavery with the African slave trade which flourished from the 16th century until 1867, the fact is that a different kind of slavery is alive and well today. According to the United Nations and the London-based Anti-Slavery International Society, there are 200 million people held in some form of slavery today - one out of every 30 human beings in the world. While "chattel slavery" of the 19th century variety is no longer sanctioned anywhere, new forms of slavery have spread.

  • In South Asia alone, about 10 million people are held in bonded labor, usually forced to work for someone for years to pay off a debt.
  • In Brazil, impoverished young men and women are offered "jobs" far away, only to find themselves trapped in the remote rain forest, forced at best to pay their way out.
  • In Ukraine, gangsters make more from the women sold into prostitution in one week of business than the country spends on law enforcement for the whole year.
  • In the Sudan, there are as many as 100,000 slaves -- mostly black Christians or animists from the south held by the Muslin Arab northern government.

Source: Georgie Anne Geyer, "Slavery Still Hasn't Disappeared," Dallas Morning News, November 27, 2000.


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