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Modern Day Slavery Fact Sheet
  • The 1927 Slavery Convention outlawed slavery worldwide. Article 2 states that the members will take the necessary steps "to bring about, progressively and as soon as possible, the complete abolition of slavery in all its forms." Slavery is defined as forced labor without pay under the threat of violence.

  • Though the legal argument against slavery has been won, slavery persists and even thrives in some parts of the world. By a conservative estimate, 27 million people are enslaved today worldwide -- more than at any time in history.

  • The classic form of chattel slavery- in which slaveholders maintain ownership no longer through legalities but through the use of violence - persists to this day in a few countries. In Sudan, a radical ruling regime has revived a racially-based slave trade, arming militia forces to raid civilian villages for slaves. In Mauritania, slave raids 800 years ago began a system of chattel slavery that continues to this day, with Arab-Berber masters holding as many as one million black Africans as inheritable property.

    The most common form of slavery is debt bondage, in which a human being becomes collateral against a loan. With a massive population boom in regions of staggering poverty, some families have nothing to pledge for a loan but their own labor. With inflated interest rates, debts are often inherited, ensnaring generations. 15 to 20 million slaves are in debt bondage in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan.

  • Another common form of slavery is forced labor, where individuals are lured by the promise of a good job and instead find themselves enslaved. Migrant workers are particularly vulnerable, and small organized-crime rings fuel a booming international trade in human beings. Trafficking often flows from developing nations to the West. For instance, CIA estimates that 50,000 women and children are trafficked into the US each year as slaves.

  • A form of slavery most common in South Asia is sex slavery, where girls forced into prostitution by their own husbands, fathers, and brothers earn money for the men in the family to pay back local-money lenders. Others are lured by offers of good jobs and then beaten and forced to work in brothels.

  • Slave labor produces goods we use every day. Examples include: sugar from the Dominican Republic, chocolate from the Ivory Coast, paper clips from China, carpets from Nepal, and cigarettes from India.

  • Slavery occurs in every continent in the world except Antarctica. A few selected hotspots include:
    ALBANIA: Teenage girls are tricked into sex slavery and trafficked by organized crime rings
    BRAZIL: Lured into the rainforest, families burn trees into charcoal at gunpoint
    BURMA: The ruling military junta enslaves its own people to build infrastructure projects, some
    benefiting US corporations.
    DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Haitians are rounded up at random, taken across the border, and
    forced to cut cane in sugar plantations
    GHANA: Families repent for sins by giving daughters as slaves to fetish priests
    INDIA: Children trapped in debt bondage roll beedi cigarettes 14 hours a day
    IVORY COAST: Child slaves forced to work on cocoa plantations
    MAURITANIA: Arab-Berbers buy and sell black Africans as inheritable property
    PAKISTAN: Children with nimble fingers are forced to weave carpets in looms
    SUDAN: Arab militias from the North take Southern Sudanese women and children in slave raids.
    THAILAND: Women and children become sex slaves for tourists
    UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: Bangladeshi boys are transported and exploited as jockeys for
    camel racing
    UNITED STATES: The CIA estimates that 50,000 people are trafficked as sex slaves, domestics,
    garment, and agricultural slaves

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