Definition of Slavery

Posted by on Mar 10, 2010 in Slavery Information | No Comments

Kevin Bales who first put forward the number of 27 million slaves in the world today also came up with the definition that probably is narrow enough to quantify slaves and broad enough to include the many different kinds of slavery in the world today. In Slavery Today he defines slavery this way:

Slavery: a social and economic relationship in which a person is controlled through violence or the threat of violence, is paid nothing, and is economically exploited.

E. Benjamin Skinner is his work A Crime So Monstrous subtitled Face-To-Face With Modern-Day Slavery he words Bales definition a little more simply. For Skinner slavery is defined as:

Slavery: Human beings forced to work, under threat of violence, for no pay.

The basic idea is the same. People are working, they are not free to leave, are often controlled by violence, psychological & physical torture.

In some ways it seems so out of place to the average American that slavery still exists in the world today. And yet is does in abundance. Kevin Bales first put forward the estimate of 27 million slaves world wide in 1999. He asked for others to critique his number and give him evidence of a better number if there was evidence to suggest it. As more people have studied the issue the number has only become likely to be a good guess.

Since slavery is illegal in virtually every country on the planet its not easy to get an accurate number. Most slavery is hidden from public view. Slaves aren’t showing up at polling stations registering themselves as such. Still the work done to accurately assess and work against slavery grows each year unfortunately as the population grows in many developing countries slavery is still growing with it.

Defining and quantifying the problem is the first step towards fixing it. Because of that, we are grateful to Kevin Bales for his work of bringing the problem of slavery to into the light so that people around the world can do the work of stopping slavery.

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