Yes, we mean real slavery. People held against their will, forced to work and paid nothing. Sometimes the slave holder ‘pays’ a few grains of rice to keep the slaves alive, or uses a bogus payment that the slave holder reclaims at the end of the month. But the end result is what slavery is today and has always been—one person controlling another and then forcing them to work.
Through Free the Slaves’ research, first published in Kevin Bales’ Disposable People, our conservative estimate is that there are 27 million people in slavery today. This means that there are more people in slavery today than at any other time in human history. Slavery has existed for thousands of years, but changes in the world’s economy and societies over the past 50 years have enabled a resurgence of slavery.
I keep thinking and hearing about the world out there, hidden for the last eight years or so by this fog of rhetoric about terrorism, a tactic disguised as a movement. Here’s an awful problem that could be solved in just a few years, as easy as going to the moon, if only we paid attention.