Slavery: A profitable industry that still exists today

By Panagiotis Nikolakopoulos (A Class)

 Κύρια εικόνα

‘Slavery is to this day an industry that produces huge profits, but also countless wasted lives in the name of greediness for wealth.’

One hundred and fifty-two years ago, the Thirteenth Amendment was added in the American Constitution, formally abolishing serfdom and slavery. However, despite the fact that the majority of countries worldwide adopted laws that abolished slavery, servitude remains a phenomenon still existing today. But, not only are there slaves to this day, but also their number has been increased rapidly. In particular, today there are approximately forty-five million eight hundred thousand slaves all over the world.


Slavery has existed for thousands of years, but economic and social forces have enabled its alarming resurgence in the past few decades. According to research conducted by the United Nations, there are tens of millions of people trapped in various forms of slavery throughout the world today, generating $150 billion each year in illicit profits for traffickers. Particularly, about 50 percent toil in forced labor slavery in industries where manual labor is needed—such as farming, logging, mining, fishing, and brick making—and in service industries. Moreover, about 12.5 percent are trapped in forced prostitution sex slavery, and about 37.5 percent are trapped in early or forced marriages. Also, millions of people today work as bonded laborers. The cycle begins when they take extreme loans under the condition that they work off the debt. As far as child slavery is concerned, about 25 percent of today’s slaves are children.


As mentioned above, slavery is a problem which exists in every country, including ours, Greece, and nations of the European Union. However, because slavery is officially abolished everywhere, the practice is illegal, and thus little information about slaves are at our disposal, because slave traders are constantly moving to new places and because they manage to keep their identity secret. This applies to the purchasers too, which are for example factory owners, who manage to conceal the truth and their activities remain a guarded secret. Nevertheless, we know that slaves work long hours under terrible working conditions without being paid or with meager salaries. Furthermore, they are not given the opportunity to be involved in anything else besides their work, while their rights are being violated. For instance, children do not have access to education and the right to be educated.


Additionally, we have available information about the ways in which a slave is obtained. According to international organizations and witnesses, slaves can be obtained through trade, fraud, blackmail, abduction, coercion or even marriage. In many cases, husbands driven by greediness and other personal motives, exploit their wives or force them into prostitution.


Despite being illegal in every nation, slavery is still present. Slaves can be an attractive investment because the slave-owner only needs to pay for sustenance and supervision. Countries that lack education, economic freedom, the rule of law, and have poor societal structure can create an environment that fosters the acceptance and propagation of slavery. To be more specific, about 58 percent of slaves live in India, Pakistan, China, Bangladesh and Uzbekistan. 


 Εικόνα 1


To sum up, contemporary slavery is undoubtedly an appalling and terrible phenomenon. The main reason why slavery exists is our intertemporal need for inexpensive workforce and our constantly increasing avarice and desire for wealth.Slavery is to this day an industry that produces huge profits, but also countless wasted lives in the name of greediness for wealth. Modern slavery stems from our greed and prejudice, and undeniably from social inequalities. As a result, according to officials and according to research, nowadays there are globally more slaves than any other time in human history. Nevertheless, it is a problem which we need to solve immediately and which requires our activation in every level and our constant alertness.

Εικόνα 2