Monday, April 4, 2011

Modern-Day Slave Trade

There are more slaves in the 21st century (some estimate 27 million) than during any other time in history. Many are forced into labor and others are sex slaves and still many others are children sold into bondage. In the USA alone, the government says, that annually about 800,000 people are brought into the USA and forced into slavery.


While the US government has committed many millions to fighting this problem, it needs our support and prayers. There are many NGOs (non-governmental organization) that fight against slavery. Some include the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) and the Solidarity Center. Another one is freetheslaves which made the following video (warning - it isn't for the faint of heart).

Here are some facts:


  • Forced bondage (for debt) is the most common form of slavery. People become bonded laborers when they take or are tricked or forced into taking a loan. To repay the debt, they are forced to work long hours, usually in secret locations. Many times, they continue to be held in slavery long after the debt has been paid.
  • There may be up to 10 million slaves in India alone.
  • The total yearly profit created by slaves is around $14 billion
  • The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates there are more than 80 million children under 14 worldwide who work in hazardous conditions. Some child slaves who receive no wage. There is no accurate estimate of their numbers.
  • In 1999 the United Nations estimated there were 20 million bonded labourers More Facts.
For some pictures and stories of slaves, National Geographic had a special story on the issue.


JPII had the following to say:

"The trade in human persons constitutes a shocking offense against human dignity and a grave violation of fundamental human rights. Already the Second Vatican Council had pointed to “slavery, prostitution, the selling of women and children, and disgraceful working conditions where people are treated as instruments of gain rather than free and responsible persons” as “infamies” which “poison human society, debase their perpetrators” and constitute “a supreme dishonour to the Creator” (Gaudium et Spes, 27). Such situations are an affront to fundamental values which are shared by all cultures and peoples, values rooted in the very nature of the human person."
--Pope John Paul II, Letter to Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran on the Occasion of the International Conference “Twenty- First Century Slavery-the Human Rights Dimension to Trafficking in Human Beings,” May 15, 2002

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