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Report Finds 46 Million Modern Slaves, Many of Them Producing Our Goods


Report Finds 46 Million Modern Slaves, Many of Them Producing Our Goods

Deirdre Fulton, staff writer

Close to 46 million men, women, and children are enslaved across the world, according to a harrowing new report from the Australia-based Walk Free Foundation.

Many of them, the analysis notes, are in fact ensnared providing "the low-cost labor that produces consumer goods for markets in Western Europe, Japan, North America, and Australia."


It sounds absurd to trained "consumers" but "boycott everything" is solid advice.

Not only for the horrific abuse of humans in the "supply chains" but (almost more importantly) for the horrific abuse of the Earth's ecology.

Fundamental precepts for liberation (the human side) and survival (the ecological side):
- Buy nothing that you do not need;
- Be rigorous about the meaning of the word "need";
- Account for all the costs of everything you consume.


When those Champions of the thing called "The Free Market" claim there no inflation and that Consumers can buy stuff for much less than they would have paid 20+ years ago due to "free trade " deals , these are the underlying reasons for that.

It Slavery. It how the British Empire got rich and financed its industrialization. It what the French and Belgian Empires were built on. It was how the United States became one of the richest countries in the world in less than a century from its founding.


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Oops, Deidre, I think you overlooked one country. The US has one of the highest rates of incarceration in the world. These institutions bid out for jobs and often operate for profit. Isn't that slavery?


There are more slaves in the world today than there have ever been, even during the three centuries when the business model worldwide for (all but small scale) agriculture was slave labor.

As the article points out, they are more dispersed, working in factories. That doesn't even include sex slaves who are shuttled where needed and to stay one step ahead of the law.


These people are identified as slaves, not merely because their labor is exploited, but also because they lack the legal and social leverage to quit their jobs and go elsewhere. But not far away are hundreds of millions more who are not designated as "slaves" solely and entirely because they are legally able to leave their present employers--as long as they don't mind starving to death even faster than they would if they stayed in the factory manufacturing cheap clothing and plastic junk for American consumers. The problem extends to our own soil where there are plenty of workers who could quit this afternoon, but for the fact that they know that if they leave the industrial farm, the non-union slaughterhouse, the "flex-time" big box store, or the low-paying manufacturing plant where they work now, no one else in the county is hiring. Slavery is incredibly wicked. But the history of the abolition of slavery in the United States should teach us that eliminating legal slavery is not the same thing as protecting workers from predatory employers.


Corporations funding the Clintons and Clinton Foundation encourage and enable sweat shops in far more locations than just Haiti.


Immigrant workers for chicken plants in NW Arkansas.


Most people think of overseas venues when they think of money laundering and slavery.

Just as a recent article pointed out that Delaware, South Dakota, Wyoming and Nevada are second to none in providing money laundering opportunities, one need not look very far to confirm that way more than four states accommodate slavery in various forms, Helen.


Great post! While you are absolutely correct, this is very difficult to do ... if it's even possible in most cases.

This is turning into one of the huge issues of globalization. Manufacturers move their operations to the country that offers the "lowest cost of production" in which labor and environmental laws are nearly non-existent or unenforced. Manufacturers can only be a low-cost producers by exploiting human labor and pillaging natural resources without being held accountable and responsible for the production waste generated and then improperly disposed of. As a result, manufactures "externalize" or transfer the costs of these "sins of production" to the community, suppliers, consumers, and employees.

The only ones not sharing these externalized costs of these transnational oligopolies are the stockholders. These stockholders (of which most are the elite ruling class) have no qualms whatsoever in extracting additional profits through the exploitation of human and natural resources just so they can receive an additional $.02 per share next quarter.

The slavery discussed in this article along with all types of exploitation and pillage of human and natural resources will continue (and continue to get worse) until the end of capitalism.

Capitalism cannot be reformed, it must be replaced if humanity and Earth are to survive.

Whether or not we care to admit it, our current economy is extractive—that is, it’s built on the exploitation and extraction of human labor and the earth’s resources. It relies on corporations that force workers to work long hours in unsafe conditions for insufficient wages and benefits. It exists by the continual removal of nutrients from the soil, minerals from the mountains, and fossil fuels from underground. This system isn’t working for us today, and it isn’t going to work for us tomorrow. We know that infinite growth is not possible, but this economy depends on it.

Source: http://www.alternet.org/local-peace-economy/our-fossil-fuel-economy-destroys-earth-and-exploits-humanity-heres-shift-we-need?akid=14263.2544484.E2Vh2rd=1src=newsletter1056516&t=24


We don't need a report to tell us this---its starring us in the face-but most don't want to deal with this truth----how far have we come from the plantations of the south????


This when we have yet to reach 8 billion. What will it be like for the desperate poor? The real poor who perish from famine or slave for pennies just to buy food. These are the desperate poor in the world - the equivalent of the medieval peasants whose lives are toil and received little mercy - whose children sleep on the floor and wake to work not toys - the kind of poor that has no food kitchens or food stamps but straight out starvation and death. What will it be like at 9 billion and climate refugees add a final desperate level to these stolen lives who are desperate to find a life beyond slavery? Nine billion in another decade or so? Do people fleeing slavery get asylum? What happens to our souls to keep them there or send them back?

Child labor is slavery
Sexual slavery is part of desperation
Refugees by the hundreds of millions


The future will overwhelm us

This story will be far more horrible in twenty years.


Your point is key: The borders of today, and the "anti-immigrant" demagoguery that has risen among right-wing nativists in so many countries, are fundamental constructs for keeping labor under the heel of capital.

In the original formulation of economics, by Scottish moral philosopher Adam Smith way back in 1776, in his book Wealth of Nations, he postulates that capital is immobile - you couldn't just pack up a factory and move it to another continent - while labor is mobile - people can move to where work is available.

Capital has worked ever since to immobilize labor and untether capital. Today's global economy, including the slavery and quasi-slavery referenced in the article and in the comments, is the construct that has resulted.


Globalized trade is a major factor in the current forms of slavery. Ironically, the coming decline in the availability of fuel oil to power the many thousands of container vessels transporting the goods produced by slaves to the wasteful consumers in 'developed' countries will have significant impact at both ends.But this dose of reality will only exacerbate the lot of the slaves because it is most unlikely that the powerful will adopt adequate remedial policies.


Malls are the churches of capitalism.


Unfortunately I believe most of these business leaders are all too aware of just how their stuff is made. They will play dumb when openly confronted, but it's all an act. After all, they have worked tirelessly for decades to achieve this level of "slave" labor and would love to see it come to the USA, which it could well do should the GOP take over all three branches of the US Government and they already control a majority of the States, thanks in large part to the lack of enthusiasm from the voters on the left, many who are in their 30's and have never voted, which disgusts me because it's why, I believe, in this mess now. When the majority votes, progressive issues are won. We lose when we sit home and do nothing.