Tim Brauhn


Today’s manifestations of bondage are a marked departure from those of pre-modern slavery. Now the value of the human “goods” is so low that slavers do not have to worry about damaging them. Two hundred years ago, slaves had to at least be treated with a modicum of safety, if for no other reason than to ensure continued profitability. But in the 20th and 21st centuries, slavers have become less like “hunters” and more like “gatherers,” since their work no longer involves raids and chains, at least in the physical sense. No, today’s raids are the false promises of work and money that are employed to lure the poor into situations from which they are unable to escape, due either to violence, or to the threat of violence. Chains persist as the continued destitution of those who are unlucky enough to fall victim to such false promises. So how does poverty contribute to the resurgence and continued growth and profitability of the international slave trade? This section of the Digest investigates the deep-seated role that poverty plays in the recruitment and retention of modern slaves, and investigates policy options aimed at combating both indigence and its sad accomplice, enslavement.

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