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Modern Slavery Chris Barrett Cornell University January 27, 2008 Gustave Boulanger’s The Slave Market (1882) Tea picker in Kirinyaga, Kenya (2001)

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Presentation on theme: "Modern Slavery Chris Barrett Cornell University January 27, 2008 Gustave Boulanger’s The Slave Market (1882) Tea picker in Kirinyaga, Kenya (2001)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Modern Slavery Chris Barrett Cornell University January 27, 2008 Gustave Boulanger’s The Slave Market (1882) Tea picker in Kirinyaga, Kenya (2001)

2 The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade mn people shipped from Africa to Americas, Elmina Castle, Ghana – first and largest slave point in Africa … and also home to the oldest Catholic church in Africa.

3 Slavery supposedly abolished in the 19th century: - UK Wilberforce/Pitt and 1807 Abolition - US Emancipation Proclamation (1862) - Brazilian ban on slave trade (1888) Banned internationally by agreements: Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Article Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade, and Institutions and Practices Similar to Slavery Slavery Abolished?

4 No! 0.5 – 3.9 million trafficked annually!

5 1)Slavery is based on power … the forced exploitation of another’s work. Often involves violence. 2)Driven by economics … competition to reduce production costs (demand for slaves) and desire to find better work or make profit through capture (supply of slaves). 3)Poorer communities and households are the main sources, richer ones the destinations. Poverty and inequality a major driver of slavery. 4)Big and lucrative business – $ billions profit from trafficking 500K-1 mn persons each year. Plus ça change …

6 1)Less visible because of illegality … less chattel slavery than in previous centuries. 2)More services (sex work, domestic, soldier) and less manufacturing … economic change. 3)Proportionately more children and women. 4)More “lure” than “capture” slavery, largely through tricking youth into distant jobs or through debt peonage/bonded labor. 5)Slaves are far cheaper … disposable workers. 6)Far greater scale … probably million people. 1 mn children forced into prostitution/yr (UNICEF)! What’s Different Today

7 1)Be aware and vigilant … sex trafficking on Craig’s List, locked up domestic workers, etc. 2)Encourage greater local action by church and public officials … roughly as many people are trafficked in the US each year as murdered (~18,000). 3)Support programs that help prevent kids from falling prey and that aid victims of human trafficking (visas, supporting charities, etc.): Free The Slaves, Polaris Project, Coalition Against Slavery and Trafficking, NotForSale Campaign, etc. 4)Buy products labelled/certified for fair/ethical trade (Rugmark, chocolate, soccer balls, etc.) What Can We Do

8 If you were born to a poor woman in rural Africa, what would you want others to do for you?


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