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Slavery: Yesterday And Today

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One hundred fifty years ago, Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation to put an end to slavery. According to the Britannica, slavery is a “condition in which one human being was owned by another.” Although it’s illegal now, there are many different kinds of slavery still present today such as sex trafficking, child marriage, forced labor, debt bondage, and also child soldiers. These forms of slavery continue to exist due to political, economic, and social reasons. An estimated amount of 40 million humans are currently held captive as slaves all over the world as forced labor is the second largest law that is broken.

Slaves and slaveholders have completely different perspectives on slavery. Most slaveholders believed that what they were doing was right. As letting slave’s free would only destroy their profit and ruin the social hierarchy during those times. They also argued that ending slavery would bring unemployment, chaos, and less profit for crops. The Bible was commonly used to explain how slavery was the natural state of mankind. The slaves endured suffering and unfair treatment. Some slaveholders can see their pain, but they simply don’t care due to the large profit the slaves bring. On the other hand, slaves and abolitionists had a completely different perspective on the turmoil. Abolitionists like Fredrick Douglass and Sojourner Truth had first hand experiences of slavery. Fredrick Douglass described slavery as cruel, unjust, ungodly, and immoral saying that slavery brutalized slaves. He argued that they were entitled to the rights that natural law mandated. He expressed his point using not only natural law but the U.S constitution, explaining violence, self-respect, and also assimilation. Though that was so long ago, there is still modern slavery today. Modern slavery includes sex trafficking, child marriage, forced labor, debt bondage, and also child soldiers. Victims of these types of illegal activities describe it as traumatic and horrifying. There are victims as young as ten or as old as sixty that are forced into this process. These slave owners know what they are doing is wrong as it is illegal but they still practice it all over the world.

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There are several reasons as to why slavery still exists today including political, economic, and social reasons. Today slavery is driven by the same political forces of globalization. Globalization is when different parts of the world connect to expand a certain activity. In this case the activity is slavery. Form of slavery are found all over the world in countries like Asia and Africa and even in our own country the United States. Economically slavery is still here because slaves are cheaper now. In the 1850’s slaves were worth $40,000 in today’s money but now a slave is worth as little as $90 worldwide. This causes slaves to generate high economic returns. A human being is worth a lot of money therefore by selling them (human trafficking) a person will gain a lot of money. Modern slavery is prohibited under international law, and illegal everywhere, modern slavery is also morally wrong. If slavery is still here then that means that somewhere there is a failure in implementing the law(s). There is also “debt bondage” existing today due to people owing money to a person. This person would then force them to do jobs until they consider the money they borrowed paid back. Adding on, slavery is still here socially due to people being tricked. Slave holders’ prey in places like bars, nail salons, massage parlors, and etc. to seek and kidnap people.

Lastly, slavery benefits slave owners in many ways, because they make a profit from selling the slaves. Every year 1-2 million children are bought and sold. If you do the math, that is a lot of profit for just children. This gives them an advantage because they don’t have to do any work due to the “slaves” or “victims” doing all the work for them to their own benefit. The slave owners pay the slaves less than they actually deserve or nothing at all. In addition, some slaves are actually harmed in horrific ways by their “owners”.

In conclusion, Slavery is a “condition in which one human being was owned by another.” Slavery has been at a strong point from back then and sadly is still now. Though it was abolished in 1865 by Abraham Lincoln, slavery is still taking place today, but some people are attempting to end it completely. Unfortunately, our current efforts have not ended slavery yet. Modern slavery is still occurring to this day and there are also many more new types of slavery now like debt bondage, child slavery, forced marriage, forced labor, and many more. Slavery will continue to thrive due to government, unenforced laws, and an unconcerned society. Do we really want innocent people to suffer being forced to work as slaves? Slavery can either continue or end over the years to come, it’s up to us to make the world more aware and help stop it.

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Slavery: Yesterday And Today. (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 28, 2023, from
“Slavery: Yesterday And Today.” Edubirdie, 17 Feb. 2022,
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Slavery: Yesterday And Today [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Feb 17 [cited 2023 Sept 28]. Available from:
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