Modern Day Slavery Definition Details

Slavery still exists.

Th meaning of the Term Slavery changes with Societies,Race and Countries.

If one looks at US, one is reminded of the Blacks and the way they were bartered, auctioned and treated.

In India, the class which is called as untouchable( I have written posts on this, stating that this is not a Religiously or Socially sanctioned one), were not treated properly.

But through out Human History one finds, Slavery.

What then is Slavery?

It can be understood if we identify the characteristics  of the Slaves and those who rule them.

1.Loss of free Will.

One can not decide on his own; he/she is dictated by the others, may be an individual, Institution, Government.

“f we look closely at the lives of slaves throughout human history we find that the core characteristics of slavery are the same. Slavery means the loss of free will, it means that violence will be used to maintain control over the slave, and it means that the slave will be exploited, normally in some sort of economic activity, but possibly for sex or even as an object of conspicuous consumption. Slaves may be kidnapped or captured, tricked into slavery, or born into slavery, but their lives will be controlled through violence and they will be exploited. Normally the life of a slave is marked as well by the fact that they receive no payment for their work, only subsistence.”


Today, while there are numerous legal and academic definitions of slavery, the most important thing is to focus on the lived experiences of slaves. When a situation of extreme exploitation is examined, it is important to ask: “Can this person walk away? Are they under violent control?” Of all the core characteristics, the most important is the presence of violent control; it is the foundation of all slavery. After violent control is established slavery can then take any one of many forms: human trafficking, debt bondage slavery, contract slavery, slavery linked to religious practices, or state-sponsored forced labor.

Slavery – a relationship in which one person is controlled by violence through violence, the threat of violence, or psychological coercion, has lost free will and free movement, is exploited economically, and paid nothing beyond subsistence.


Taken in this perspective, Modern day Corporate practices Slavery, especially the IT sector.

The difference is that instead of violence, money is provided along with Perks, including Creches,Play activities, Food, Accommodation.

You work , on an average, 10 to 12 Hours day in the guise of working from Home.

Your Family life, Sleep pattern, food habits are influenced and in some cases controlled by these.

Broadly, leaving this glorious slavery, where one imagines himself to be free and happy, we have the following categories of Slavery.

Slavery Facts.
Modern Slavery Facts.

Statistics from the Polaris Project:

  • 800,000 – Number of people trafficked across international borders every year.
    • Source: U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report: 2007.
      • Note:
        • The TIP Report in 2001 and 2002 estimated this figure at 700,000;
        • The TIP Report of 2003 reported 800,000 to 900,000 victims;
        • The TIP Reports of 2004 through 2006 reported 600,000 to 800,000 victims.
        • Slavery Practice Countries
          Countries which do not have proper laws in Place. for Slavery.
  • 1 million – Number of children exploited by the global commercial sex trade, every year.
    • Source: U.S. Department of State, The Facts About Child Sex Tourism: 2005.
  • 50% – Percent of transnational victims who are children.
    • Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Report to Congress from Attorney General John Ashcroft on  U.S. Government Efforts to Combat Trafficking in Persons in Fiscal Year 2003: 2004.
  • 80% – Percent of transnational victims who are women and girls.
    • Source: U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report: 2007.
  • 70% – Percent of female victims who are trafficked into the commercial sex industry.  This means that 30% of female victims are victims of forced labor.
    • Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Assessment of U.S. Government Activities to Combat Trafficking in Persons: 2004.
  • 161 – Countries identified as affected by human trafficking:
    • 127 countries of origin; 98 transit countries; 137 destination countries.
    • Note: Countries may be counted multiple times and categories are not mutually exclusive.
    • Source: UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Trafficking in Persons: Global Patterns: April 2006.
  • 32 billion – Total yearly profits generated by the human trafficking industry.
    • $15.5 billion is made in industrialized countries.
    • $9.7 billion in Asia
    • $13,000 per year generated on average by each “forced laborer.”  This number can be as high as $67,200 per victim per year.
    • Source: ILO, A global alliance against forced labor: 2005.

The following statistics are from the UN GIFT (Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking):

  • The Victims
    • The majority of trafficking victims are between 18 and 24 years of age
    • An estimated 1.2 million children are trafficked each year
    • 95% of victims experienced physical or sexual violence during trafficking (based on data from selected European countries)
    • 43% of victims are used for forced commercial sexual exploitation, of whom 98 per cent are women and girls
    • 32% of victims are used for forced economic exploitation, of whom 56 per cent are women and girls
    • Many trafficking victims have at least middle-level education
  • The Traffickers
    • 52% of those recruiting victims are men, 42% are women and 6% are both men and women
    • In 54% of cases the recruiter was a stranger to the victim, 46% of cases the recruiter was known to victim
    • The majority of suspects involved in the trafficking process are nationals of the country where the trafficking process is occurring
  • The Profits
    • Estimated global annual profits made from the exploitation of all trafficked forced labour are US$ 31.6 billion
    • Of this:
      • US$ 15.5 billion – 49% – is generated in industrialized economies
      • US$ 9.7 billion – 30.6% is generated in Asia and the Pacific
      • US$ 1.3 billion – 4.1% is generated in Latin America and the Caribbean
      • US$ 1.6 billion – 5% is generated in sub-Saharan Africa
      • US$ 1.5 billion – 4.7% is generated in the Middle East and North Africa
  • Prosecutions
    • In 2006 there were only 5,808 prosecutions and 3,160 convictions throughout the world
    • This means that for every 800 people trafficked, only one person was convicted in 2006

The following statistics are gathered from an article in the Christian Science Monitor:

  • Today, every country has a law against slavery
  • Between 14,000 and 17,500 people are trafficked into the US annually
  • In 1850, the cost of a slave (in today’s dollars) was $40,000. In modern slavery, the price of a slave in $30.
  • 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked across national borders each year.
  • According to the United Nations, profits from human trafficking rank it among the top three revenue earners for organized crime, after drugs and arms.”

Slaves can be an attractive investment because the slave-owner only needs to pay for sustenance and enforcement. This is sometimes lower than the wage-cost of free labourers, as free workers earn more than sustenance; in these cases slaves have positive price. When the cost of sustenance and enforcement exceeds the wage rate, slave-owning would no longer be profitable, and owners would simply release their slaves. Slaves are thus a more attractive investment in high-wage environments, and environments where enforcement is cheap, and less attractive in environments where the wage-rate is low and enforcement is expensive.[8]

Free workers also earn Compensating differentials, whereby they are paid more for doing unpleasant work. Neither sustenance nor enforcement costs rise with the unpleasantness of the work, however, so slaves’ costs do not rise by the same amount. As such, slaves are more attractive for unpleasant work, and less for pleasant work. Because the unpleasantness of the work is not internalised, being born by the slave rather than the owner, it is a negative externality and leads to over-use of slaves in these situations.[9]

Slavery can be quite profitable[citation needed] and corrupt governments will tacitly allow it, despite it being outlawed by international treaties such asSupplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery and local laws. Total annual revenues of traffickers were estimated in 2004 to range from US $5 billion to US $9 billion,[10] though profits are substantially lower. American slaves in 1809 were sold for around $40,000. Today, a slave can be bought for $90.[11] Some governments will even overtly make use of slavery by recruiting child soldiers.

Unfortunately, slavery is often seen as a by-product of poverty. Countries that lack education, economic freedoms and the rule of law, and which have poor societal structure can create an environment that fosters the acceptance and propagation of slavery.

* Further Reading

Refer for some good Books.





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