Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Slavery Returns to Britain Says Guardian

Well, actually the Guardian quote The Joseph Rountree Foundation which celebrates the 200th anniversary of outlawing slavery in the UK with a report on modern slavery in the UK. In conjunction with The University of Hull they find slavery is not abolished, only moved to a different venue.

Modern slavery exists in the UK in various forms. All exhibit the common elements of the exploitative relationship which have always constituted slavery:
  • severe economic exploitation;
  • the absence of a framework of human rights;
  • control of one person over another by the prospect or reality of violence.
Coercion distinguishes slavery from poor working conditions.
Okay. Sounds vaguely like my life. Or the life of lots of people who are even more on the margins of society. Are they diluting the meaning of slavery? Does this diminish the historical horror of the thing?

They claim not.
"We are not devaluing an emotive word," said Professor Gary Craig, associate director of the Wilberforce Institute for the study of slavery and emancipation at Hull. "The shackles may not always be physical, although I have no doubt that in some cases they are. Debt bondage, theft of passports and ID, and threats of violence are tools of slavery."
The Guardian say there are "10's of thousands" of slaves in the UK. Obviously the sex trades are what come to mind right away, but they say nursing, housekeeping, factory work, and catering have a fair share as well.

And here in the USA? The University of California at Berkley posted a 2004 study which was promptly ignored by the mainstream. Their findings were very similar to the one cited above for the UK.

Said Kevin Bales, president of Free the Slaves. "It is important to remember that slavery is a crime and that criminals are always looking for new ways to exploit people."
Public awareness is what is needed most, all agree. So, go forth and make links!

No comments: