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Slavery In The 21st Century: An Evil Unnoticed

Updated: Jun 13

BY: Qudsia Saeed

Slavery was abolished in the United States with the ratification of the 13th amendment adapted in 1865, and it is illegal to own slaves in every country on this planet, however, while it was abolished in the books, it still exists in alternative yet similarly gruesome forms across the world. Global powers, such as the United States and China, have converted their prison systems into factory systems to exploit the cheap and vulnerable labor available for monetary gain. Behind the economic miracle of China, the world’s largest exporter, lie over 5 million prisoners who are coerced to work for free.

While China enslaves many political and religious dissidents, the United States prison industrial complex profits off of the mass incarceration of the African American community for non-violent crimes. The 13th Amendment abolished slavery but contained a loophole that allows the government to use servitude as a punishment for a crime, indicating that all able-bodied federal prisoners are forced to work and threatened with solitary confinement and harsh punishments if they fail to comply.

Given the statistics that 1 in 3 black men are expected to go to jail in their lifetime, that the current percentage of inmates that are POC is 73% and that are black is 38%, the prison industrial complex would disfunction if it didn’t target black communities. The truth is America has always relied on slavery, and after the slaves were freed, the American economy was on the brink of an economic collapse, and to return to stability, it formed the prison system which is fundamentally flawed as it is an extension of slavery.

Major corporations such as Walmart, Target, Starbucks, and Victoria Secret employ prison labor as its cheap and nonconsequential, and a prisoner’s wage ranges from $0.23 to $1.15 per hour--this wage however only applies to inmates who work for the government as most other inmates are forced into physical labor without compensation.

Beyond the realms of major global powers profiting off of prison labor, it was recently discovered that the slave trade is still prominent in Libya. CNN exposed this act, with footage of youth from Nigeria and other sub-Saharan African countries being sold to buyers for $400. The UN estimates that there are currently over 700,000 migrants in Libya, on their journey to Europe, resulting in detention centers being overcrowded and becoming centers of robbery, rape, and murder. These migrants are most vulnerable to being sold off in slave auctions, and this tragedy has awakened and outraged the world and in order to tackle this humanitarian crisis, it will certainly require international guidance as Libya is lawless and without a functioning government to abolish this lucrative industry.

*All arguments made and viewpoints expressed within Youth In Politics and its nominal entities do not necessarily reflect the views of the writers or the organization as a whole.


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