Wasn’t slavery abolished? Yes, it was, in the United Kingdom in 1807 and the United States in 1865. And technically, slavery is illegal in every country in the world–just like smuggling drugs and weapons–and those are the only two black-market activities that make more money than selling humans. (According to the FBI, slavery is a $9 billion+ global business). After all, why pay someone to work when you can make them work for free?
That is why there are an estimated 27 million slaves today, the secret labor force in almost every country around the globe: making bricks, sewing clothes, staffing restaurants, picking fruit, or in prostitution. For an overview of modern-day slavery, watch this excellent 18-minute talk from the TED Conference by Kevin Bales, the world’s leading scholar in the area.
[Photo by Jill Filipovic.]