February 4, 2015

Hearts Should Be Free 2015 - A Giveaway For Hope

Hello, and welcome to the last article and giveaway for Hearts Should Be Free 2015.  If you've entered the other giveaways you now know that slavery still exists in various forms throughout the world (not just in third world countries but in developed nations like the United States), and that slaves today suffer the same type of abuses that they did through-out much of history (in some cases, more).

That there is still, after all this time, millions of slaves in the world is a discouraging fact.

But while many groups estimate there are a greater number of slaves today than at any other time in history, when you look at the total population of the world, it is also the smallest percentage of that population that it has ever been.  To quote activist Kevin Bales, slavery "has been pushed to the edges of our society" and is  "standing on the precipice of it's own extinction."   And we can push it over the edge.  We can end it.  We are closer than we have ever been before.

I hope you will join me in helping to fight slavery--and some of you, I know, already have.  You've told me how you've shared these posts with others, and talked with friends about what you've learned.   Thank you SO MUCH for spreading awareness about this issue.

If you want to help, but are not sure how, please click the link below.  There are many, many ways to fight modern slavery, and some of them are easier than you might think.

Click here to learn ways you
 can help to end modern slavery.

You can enter to win all of the items below...scroll down past the pictures to learn how..  

8.5 x 11" Print From Poppy And Pinecone 

Poppy and Pinecone has a collection of beautiful watercolor prints, many featuring different states and countrie.   She also has some charming quote prints like the one pictured in the middle above (I thought that was the perfect sentiment for this particular giveaway topic).  Last year she game away a World Love print.  This year she is giving away one 8.6 x 11" print of the winner's choice.

You can also find Poppy and Pinecone on Instagram.

Jewelry From Zen Custom Jewelry

Zen Custom Jewelry has beautiful tribal/BOHO style jewelry and hair accessories created with natural materials, fabric and mixed metals.  You may remember the beautiful earrings and bracelets she donated last year.  This year she's providing two necklaces and a peace bracelet.  

Use Discount Code ZENCJ15 for15% off all orders - valid through Feb 10, 2015

Soap Samples from 27 Bath and Body

Chyanne Ledbetter has a plan to help girls in Cambodia escape a life of prostitution through 27 Bath and Body.  You can read more about it in our interview for her giveaway last year or watch this video here.  This year she has donated soap samples in Chocolate Espresso, Chamomile, and Warm Chipotle.  I've taken a whiff of these and I can tell you they smell WONDERFUL.  

Bookmarks from 8th Wonder Creations

8th Wonder Creations has a ton of fun printable bookmarks and gift tags.  This is the second giveaways where she's giving away one of her "Voices of Freedom" bookmarks.  I thought they were perfect for the topic.  I'm going to try to make a back to these with some info on it about slavery today, so this could be used as a tool to spread awareness.

To enter this giveaway I'm going to ask you to share your plan to fight slavery.  Don't worry, if you don't have one, you can still enter.  It took a long time for what I knew about modern slavery to germinate before I decided to do anything about it, and I don't expect everyone who reads these posts about slavery to join the cause of ending it.  But I do hope you'll consider the idea that you can be part of the solution.  

This giveaway is open to residents of the United States, Canada (except Quebec), and the United Kingdom.  Enter on the Rafflecopter below.  Full rules here.

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February 2, 2015

Modern Slavery - A World Wide Problem (+ Giveaway)

When I first learned about modern slavery, I thought it only existed OTHER places.    I was wrong.  Slavery was HERE too, in the United States, in spite of our laws against it.

But for all the progress that we’ve made, the bitter truth is that trafficking also goes on right here, in the United States. It’s the migrant worker unable to pay off the debt to his trafficker. The man, lured here with the promise of a job, his documents then taken, and forced to work endless hours in a kitchen. The teenage girl, beaten, forced to walk the streets. This should not be happening in the United States of America.
- President Barak Obama

No, slavery isn't just a third world problem.  It happens in developed nations as well as developing ones...and not only the United States.

Below I've included some excerpts of stories about trafficking victims in the Canada, the  United States, and the United Kingdom.  I chose those nations since that's where the Hearts Should Be Free giveaway are open this year. (A side note:  Since this is a world wide problem I'd really like to open these awareness giveaways to people in more places, but need help researching laws and, in some cases, translating the posts.  If you would like to help with that, contact me here.)

Some of the names may have been changed for privacy purposes.

Survivors' Stories


Cesar Navarrete promised Lucas a job and a room.  The "room" turned out to be the back of a box truck with no toilet or running water, shared with 2 -3 other workers.  It soon became clear, that he wasn't going to get the money he was promised, and he wouldn't be allowed to leave.

"If Lucas became ill or was too exhausted to work, he was kicked in the head, beaten, and locked in the back of the truck. Other members of Navarrete’s dozen-man crew were slashed with knives, tied to posts, and shackled in chains."    Click for the Full Story

While the man in the story above came here illegally, a recent study found that 71% of  victims on labor trafficking in the US actually came here with legal visas.  Sadly, by the time they manage to escape victim's visas have often expired, and they are are are treated as illegal immigrants.


"I grew up in California and lived in foster and group homes starting at the age of nine. ... By the time I was a 11 years old I was being sold to men for sex by an older teen aged boy from one of the group homes that I had been living in."   Click for the Full Story

Boys who are trafficked for sex are more likely to be overlooked as victims, and less likely to receive proper aftercare than girls who are victims of sex trafficking.


She met Byron online through a friend who suggested they would be a good match.  When she took a train to meet him (without telling her parents), and she had no idea what he really had in mind.

"He told me he wanted me to work. We got into a fight because I refused … and I told him I wanted to leave."

Her resistance meant nothing. Byron beat her that first day when she refused to do what he wanted. He then took her to see a customer and forced her to have sex with him. He collected $300.

Byron burned her birth certificate and stole her health card, textbook tactics used by pimps to gain control of their victims. He also threatened to hurt her family if she ran away. On days when she didn’t want to work, he pushed her around, pulled her hair and threw her into walls. (Click for Full Story)


"A man approached me and said that I could earn lots of money in Europe working in a restaurant. I managed to raise several thousand dollars for an agent to arrange my travel and accommodation...

When we arrived, the man told me that I now owed more money for the trip, plus interest. They made me water cannabis plants to pay off the debt.

My captor would lock me up in the house when he left and only returned every few days with bits of food and water. When I asked for anything or complained he would hit me and threatened that if I left the house, the police would arrest me and beat me. (Read Full Story Here)

Debt bondage is the most common form of slavery today.  

While victims of modern slavery are often kept secluded, other times they are out in the open, working in plain sight, controlled by fear of violence from their captor.  Would you recognize a victim of human trafficking if you came in contact with them?   You might not, but here are some signs you can look for, from the U.S. Office of Homeland Security...

Indicators of Human Trafficking
Here are some common indicators to help recognize human trafficking:

  • Does the person appear disconnected from family, friends, community organizations, or houses of worship?
  • Has a child stopped attending school?
  • Has the person had a sudden or dramatic change in behavior?
  • Is a juvenile engaged in commercial sex acts?
  • Is the person disoriented or confused, or showing signs of mental or physical abuse?
  • Does the person have bruises in various stages of healing?
  • Is the person fearful, timid, or submissive?
  • Does the person show signs of having been denied food, water, sleep, or medical care?
  • Is the person often in the company of someone to whom he or she defers? Or someone who seems to be in control of the situation, e.g., where they go or who they talk to?
  • Does the person appear to be coached on what to say?
  • Is the person living in unsuitable conditions?
  • Does the person lack personal possessions and appear not to have a stable living situation?
  • Does the person have freedom of movement? Can the person freely leave where they live? Are there unreasonable security measures? 
Not all indicators listed above are present in every human trafficking situation, and the presence or absence of any of the indicators is not necessarily proof of human trafficking.

If you suspect human trafficking, 
you can report it at the following numbers...

Where To Call If You Suspect 
Human Trafficking

United States  - National Human Trafficking Hotline
1 (888) 373-7888

Canada - Human Trafficking National Coordination Center

United Kingdom - Crimestoppers
0800 555 111

To report urgent information that requires an immediate response
 contact any Police Officer, your local Police force 
or dial 911 (Canada, US) or 999 (United Kingdom).



Item of Choice (up to $13) from Lil's Bits of Glass

Lil's Bits of Glass is run by a good friend of mine.  She makes beautiful melted glass, glass tile, and beaded jewelry.  I've bought a few of her pieces and I can tell you they are solidly made and great quality.

And I can't fail to mention how a facebook post she shared about children enslaved in the cocoa field, helped lead to Hearts Should Be Free.  I knew about modern slavery before that, but had never thought about how it contributed to things we use every day.  It sent me looking to find out more, and what I found stirred my heart to do something about it.  

You can find her on Facebook Here.

Fun and Baubles is run by Ekatrina, a single mother, PhD student, and general lover of life. Her tastes are classically trained, but she also likes to incorporate edgy aspects to give her products a fresh look. This shop is her creative outlet and primary hobby, as well as a source of much-welcomed supplemental income.   You can see more of her style, and styling suggestions for some of her items, at funandbaubles.polyvore.com or follow her on pinterest.

Bow From Lady Monaco Crafts 

At Lady Monaco Crafts you can find handmade hair accessories, earrings, wallets and pouches in fun fabric.  You can see more from Lady Monaco on her Instagram Page.

One winner will recieve all three of the prizes pictured above.

This giveaway is open to residents over 18 of the United States, Canada (except Quebec), and the United Kingdom. Enter on the Rafflecopter below.  Full rules here.

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Graphic For Giveaway Linkies

January 30, 2015

Help Me Bring Hearts Should Be Free to More Places

Since slavery is a world wide problem, I would like to open the Hearts Should Be Free giveaways to to as many countries as possible. But I am simply not able to research giveaway laws in every country.

Currently giveaways on this site are only open to entrants from  the United States, Canada (except Quebec), and the United Kingdom.  Next year I will Austrailia will be included  too.  To open up these giveaway to more places, I could use help with the following...
  • Researching giveaway laws in more countries
  • Translating the giveaway posts into other languages
If you would like to help with either of these, please e-mail me at ecarian@yahoo.com.  

January 27, 2015

Slavery Today

If you've visited any of my other Hearts Should Be Free posts, you've read that though slavery is illegal in every country, there are still millions of people enslaved today.  If slavery is illegal around the world, than how does it still exist?  How does someone become a slave TODAY?  The short answer to that is usually poverty, disenfranchisement, government corruption, or a failure of the criminal justice system.  But the longer answer to that question is laid out below...

How People are Enslaved Today

Threatened with Violence
Violence or threats of violence to individuals and their families keep people working for little to no pay. This is usually an aspect of the forms of enslavement mentioned below as well.

Born a Slave
While descent based slavery is more rare than other forms of slavery today, it still exists.  Mauritania was the last country in the world to officially abolish slavery, and though they publicly insists it does not exist there, it is estimated by anti-slavery groups that at least 4% of the population is enslaved.  In this culture slavery is accepted as a part of life.  Not only has the government done next to nothing to enforce their own laws about slavery, but they have actively opposed efforts to help enslaved people in their country.  Only one arrest has been made since holding slaves became a crime in 2007, and, for their efforts, 6 of the activists who pressured the government to prosecute that crime spent the same time in jail as the man convicted of slave-holding.

Descent based slavery also exists in parts of Niger and Mali.  Some forms of bonded labor (discussed under "Indebted") are also is multi-generational, and take place in various places.

Countries Where Descent-Based Slavery Persist

Made with a map from D-maps.com.

This map does not include inherited debt-bondage.  Though
the whole country is highlighted, only areas of the country contain
descent based slavery.

The first article I ever read about modern slavery was about children being kidnapped and enslaved.  This was primarily done for profit--profit through their slave labor or by getting ransom from the children's families.  Recently, kidnapping and enslavement has become a tool of terrorists, such as ISIS and Boco Haran.

Sold by Their Parents
Tragically, sometimes parents will knowingly sell their children to others to use for labor or prostitution.  In many places around the world this is the result of extreme poverty--a horrid choice between selling off your children or watching them starve.  But even in the developed world, in places where such extreme conditions are not a a factor, this happens.  It is not uncommon for a women in prostitution were "turned out" by a family member, and even more disturbing are the cases of children being rented out by their parents to pedophiles.

A common tactic among slave traffickers is to promise a person a job in another country--and once the person is in that country, take their passports and other immigration documents, cut off their communication with family, and tell them they will be arrested or deported if they stop working.  Not knowing the language or being familiar with the country's laws, they feel trapped in their situation.  This is one of the most common ways laborers are enslaved in the US.  This is not just illegal immigrants--a recent study found that 71% of victims of labor trafficking came here legally.  But when a greencard is tied to employment, employers can withhold rightful wages and threaten deportation if workers speak up or leave.

This desperate mother traveled from her village in Nepal to Mumbai, India, hoping to find and rescue her teenage daughter who was trafficked into an Indian brothel. Nepalese girls are prized for their fair skin and are lured with promises of a "good" job and the chance to improve their lives. "I will stay in Mumbai," said the mother, "Until I find my daughter or die. I am not leaving here without her."

In impoverished areas around the world, parents have been tricked into into handing over their children to people promising to provide them with a better life (education, a home with a good family, reasonable payed work)...only to never see them again.

Deception is also used by pimps to "turn out" prostitutes right here in the US and Canada.  Pimps will often start a romantic relationship with a young woman, convince her to run away with him, and then once she is away manipulate or force her into prostitution.  Initially, a Pimp may convince a women to sell herself willingly.   For example, after running away together a pimp may create a false financial crisis, and convince the woman to prostitute herself "only for a little while, so we can get by," and because she loves him, she does it.   But while Pimps may not often use force to start someone in prostitution, violence and threats of violence are common ways to keep them working...and this is where it crosses the line into slavery.

Debt bondage is the most common form of slavery today.  Simply working to pay off a debt does not make someone a slave--but when the debt is structured so that it can never be payed off, this can be a form of slavery.  Debt bondage can involve the deceptive practices described above...a person is loaned money and promised a job to pay it off, but then are charged room and board equal or greater to their "earnings", so that they are always working without ever paying off their debt to their employers.  In other instances the wages are kept so low and interest is at such high a rate that paying off the debt is impossible.  Debtors are usually not allowed to leave or work somewhere else.  In some area, whole generations are working off family debts--debts of parents or grandparents which they did not even accrue.

Blackmail is powerful in cases where someone is enslaved doing an illegal activity, such as prostitution.  A pimp can threaten with violence, and then follow it up by telling his victim that if she tells the police, she'll be arrested.  Similarly, an employer of an illegal immigrant may threaten handing him over to be deported if he doesn't continue working.  Sadly, the threat of criminal conviction can by used by traffickers to keep victims from getting help even when they entered into the illegal activities under coercion. 

In cultures where family honor has a high premium, threat of exposing a dishonorable activity can be enough to keep someone enslaved.  In areas of the world where honor killings are common, a women is in danger of being murdered by her own family for her sexual activities (in some cases even if she was the victim of rape).  It isn't hard to imagine the power this gives traffickers over their victims.

Forcibly Recruited
In various conflicts around the world today, children have been forcibly recruited as soldiers.  In addition to the psychological ramifications of experiencing warfare, child soldiers have often been subjected unspeakable violence, rape, and abuse

Kevin Bales, co-founder of "Free the Slaves" in his 2010 Ted Talk "How to Combat Slavery," he emphasized that the slavery of today was "not about lousy marriages, this is not about jobs that suck. This is about people who can not walk away, people who are forced to work without pay, people who are operating 24/7 under a threat of violence and have no pay."  But some forms of "marriage" have long been recognized as thinly veiled form of slavery.   In 1924 the Council of the League of Nations adopted created a list of situations it defined as slavery, including "the acquisition of girls by purchase disguised as payment of dowry, when it is understood that this does not refer to normal marriage customs."    "Girls Not Brides" points out that a marriage, especially child marriage, can be a form of enslavement when the bride has not given reasonable consent, is exploited and subjected to control (especially through violence)  inside the marriage, and if the can not leave.  One example of marriage as slavery is the Wahaya, or "Fifth Wife" practice in areas of Niger, where girls from the ‘black Tuareg’ group are sold  to wealthy men, forced into both sexual relations and labor, and never allowed to leave the house except to work in their master’s fields or take livestock to pasture.  They are never legally married,  have none of the legal rights of an "official" wife,  and are altogether treated as property (even sometimes being forced to wear a special anklet designating their slave status).



Theresa Hoey of UnBound Style is providing a necklace and bracelet from her "Forever Summer Collection" for this giveaway (pictured above).  15% of all the profits at UnBound style, and and 100% of the profits from her "Hearts Should Be Free Collection," go to support Children of the Night, an organization which helps rescue youth from prostitution.   You can see items in the Hearts Should Be Free collection below...or read my review of them here.

You can also find Unbound Style on Facebook and Instagram.

This giveaway is open to residents over 18 of the United States, Canada (except Quebec), and the United Kingdom.  Enter on the Rafflecopter below.  Full rules here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I've included some of my sources in text links below.  Here is a complete list.  In stead of citing my sources in the text, I am organizing them under the topics below.

Threatened with Violence - 1
Born a Slave - 2a, 3, 4, 5a
Kidnapped - 2b, 6
Sold by Their Parents - 1c, 9
Tricked - 1d, 2c, 8, 9 , 10, 11
Indebted - 2e, 5b, 12
Blackmailed - 1a, 8, 13,14,15
Recruited - 1b, 5c, 16, 17
Married - 5d, 5e, 18, 19

(1) U.S. State Department 2014 Trafficking in Persons Report
1a. Introductory Material: The Use of Forced Criminality, pg 14
1b  Introductory Material: Child Soldiers, pages 38-39
1c  Country Narratives A - C, pages 91, 97, 98, 121 (Examples of Parent Involvement)
1d  Country Narratives A - C, pg 123 (Example of Parent's Deceived by Traffickers)

(2) CNN.com
2a  Mauritania:  Slavery's Last Stronghold - by John D. Sutter
2b 'Treated like cattle': Yazidi women sold, raped, enslaved by ISIS" by Ivan Watson, CNN
2c  Slave Labor in America Today  (Labor Trafficking Report Summary)
2e  Bonded Labor Stretches from First to Third World
2f  Inside the Underground Sex Economy

(3) Mauritania activists jailed as police quash resurgent anti-slavery - The Guardian

(4) Global Slavery Index - 2014 Report, pg 18,

(5) AntiSlavery.org
5a. Descent Based Slavery
5b  Bonded Labor
5c  Child Slavery
5d  Wahaya:  Young Girls Sold Into Slavery
5e  Wahaya Report:  Domestic and Sexual Slavery in Niger

(6) Missing Schoolgirls - NBC NEWS

(7) United Nations Global Report on Trafficking in Persons - 2014
7a. pg 43

(8) Routes of Recruitment into Prostitution (originally published in the Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma, 2007, 15 (2), 1-19.

(9) Southern Poverty Law Center - Holding the Deportation Card

(10) From Victims to Victimizers:  Interviews with 25 Ex-Pimps in Chicago

(11) 5 Things I Learned As a Sex Slave In Modern America

(12) End Slavery Now - Bonded Labor

(13)  Human Trafficking Exploitation of Illegal Aliens - FAIR

(14)  The Role of Honor Related Violence in Sex Trafficking - USAID

(15)  Honor Killings - PBS

(16)  Child Soldiers International:  FAQ

(17)  Child Soldiers, Slavery, and the Trafficking of Children by Susan Tiefenbrun - 2007

(18)  How To Combat Modern Slavery:  Transcript of 2010 TED Talk by Kevin Bales

(19)  When Does Child Marriage Become Slavery - Girls Not Brides

Photo of Napalese Mother Used with permission - See the wikimedia commons page.

~  Last year, after the giveaway, Theresa sent me both bracelets from the Hearts Should Be Free Collection, which I reviewed here.  Apart from that I have received no other compensation for this post or the review (which was not even something she required...the bracelets were given as a thank you, and I was happy to review them since they are supporting such a good cause).  I am not affiliated with any of the wonderful non-profits mentioned in this post.

Square Picture for Pinning and Linkies

January 26, 2015

Human Trafficking Bills in Congress

Below are the current bills in congress right now related to Human Trafficking.  I have not had time to vet these bills so I want to be clear that I'm not saying you should or shouldn't vote for them, but just wanted everyone to know what was in the works.  You can find pending state legislation here..

  • Human Trafficking Prioritization Act (HR 514): — Bipartisan — To prioritize the fight against human trafficking within the Department of State according to congressional intent in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 without increasing the size of the Federal Government. 
  • International Megan’s Law to Prevent Demand for Child Sex Trafficking(HR 515): — Bipartisan — “A serious attempt to mitigate child sex tourism by noticing countries of destination concerning the travel plans of convicted pedophiles. And to protect American children, the bill encourages the President to use bilateral agreements and assistance to establish reciprocal notification so that we will know when convicted child-sex offenders are coming here,” according a floor statement by the sponsor in 2014. 
  • Human Trafficking Prevention Act (HR 357): — Bipartisan — “Requires additional training for Department of State officials related to human trafficking,” according to the bill sponsor.
  • Trafficking Awareness Training for Health Care Act (HR 398): — Bipartisan —  “Trains healthcare workers to recognize the hallmark signs of human trafficking, thus allowing professionals to intervene on a patients’ behalf. This legislation trains healthcare workers to recognize the hallmark signs of human trafficking, thus allowing professionals to intervene. This legislation requires the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to award a grant to a medical or nursing school within each of the 10 administrative regions to develop best practices for health care professionals. These best practices will allow for them to recognize, respond, and intervene on behalf of human trafficking victims,” according to the bill sponsor. 
  • Human Trafficking Detection Act (HR 460): — Bipartisan — To direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to train Department of Homeland Security personnel how to effectively deter, detect, disrupt, and prevent human trafficking during the course of their primary roles and responsibilities.
  • Human Trafficking Prevention, Intervention, and Recovery Act (HR 350): — Bipartisan — “Launches a review that will look into federal and state trafficking prevention activities in order to identify best practices to stop human trafficking; requires an inventory of existing federal anti-trafficking efforts to make sure all federal agencies and programs work together and that federal resources are being targeted where needed; and improves existing Department of Justice grants, ensuring that the grants also support shelters for survivors, according to the House Judiciary Committee. 
  • Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act (HR 159): — Bipartisan — “Provides incentives to states to adopt safe harbor laws that treat trafficked children as victims, rather than as criminals or delinquents. The bill also provides an avenue for victims to access job skills training so that they can begin to rebuild their lives,” according to the House Judiciary Committee. 
  • Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (HR 181): — Bipartisan — “Boosts support and protection for domestic human trafficking victims by increasing and streamlining law enforcement resources, enhancing victims’ services, and strengthening our laws to ensure that both buyers and sellers engaged in sex trafficking are held accountable for their crimes,” according to the House Judiciary Committee. 
  • Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation Act (HR 285): — Bipartisan — “To criminalize those who knowingly advertise or profit from advertisements that offer the commercial exploitation of children and trafficking victims,” according to the House Judiciary Committee. 
  • Enhancing Services for Runaway and Homeless Victims for Youth Trafficking Act (HR 468): — Bipartisan — Would “improve support provided specifically to runaway and homeless youth who are victims of sex trafficking,” according to the House Education and Workforce Committee. Enable the Secretary of Health and Human Services to apply existing grant resources to train relevant staff on the effects of human trafficking in runaway and homeless youth victims, and for developing state-wide strategies to serve such youth. Allow the secretary to utilize the Street Outreach Program to provide street-based services for runaway and homeless youth who are victims of trafficking. 
  • Strengthening Child Welfare Response to Trafficking Act (HR 469): — Bipartisan — Would “improve practices within state child welfare systems to identify and document sex trafficking victims,” according to the House Education and Workforce Committee. Direct states to have procedures to identify and assess reports involving children who are victims of sex trafficking, and train child protective services workers on how to do so. Require states to identify services that address the needs of children who are victims of sex trafficking. 

January 23, 2015

Slavery: Then and Now (+ Giveaway)

giveaways to raise awareness of modern slavery


"I want to be very clear:  I'm talking about real slavery.  This is not about lousy marriages, this is not about jobs that suck, this is about people who can not walk away, people who are forced to work without pay, people who are operating 24/7 under a threat of violence, and have no pay.  It's real slavery in exactly the same way that slavery would be recognized throughout all of human history."
           - Kevin Bales (from his TED Talk in 2010.)

I think sometimes when people first hear about millions of people in modern slavery today they wonder, "Is it REAL slavery that we're talking about?  Or is this just some metaphor for being trapped in bad circumstances?"  But the more I learn about slavery today, the more clear it is that this is LITERAL slavery.  I have read stories of people beaten if they would not work, people's lives being threatened if they tried to leave, and even some branded with tattoos so that they could be found again if they escaped.  Slavery today, looks a lot like slavery a few hundred years ago (though there are some differences).  Read on...

Past and Present Slavery
A Side by Side Comparison 

Then Today
For most of history, in most places, slavery was legal. (1b, 1c) Today, slavery is officially illegal around the world, though laws against slavery are not always enforced, and some countries lack laws covering some forms of slavery.  Still, slavery as a criminal activity exists worldwide. (1c, 2)
The average cost for a old-world slave was around $12,000 to $40,000 (adjusted to today's currency), and were treated as a long term investment (1d, 2)The average cost of obtaining a slave, worldwide, today is somewhere between $90 - $400.  In North America, the cost is around $3,000 to $8,000--still a fraction of what it cost when slavery was legal here.  The result of this is that today's slaves are often treated like disposable resources. (2)
Slaves were subject to beatings and other forms of violence and abuse. (1d) Beatings and other forms of  violence are still a tool traffickers used to keep people enslaved today. (2)
Women slaves were often raped by their masters and subjected to other sexual exploitation. (1d) Women in slavery today are still subject to rape, even when they are trafficked primarily for labor, not sex. (2)
Tattoos were used to mark people as slaves in ancient China, Greece and Rome, and branding was common during the trans-atlantic slave trade. In both ancient Rome and in the U.S. south, metal collars were sometimes put on slaves who tried to run away. (1d, 1e, 1f, 1g, 4)Today, sex traffickers sometimes tattoo their victims so that they can mark prostitutes as "theirs" and track them down if they try to leave.  These tattoos may be names or designs like logos, and often  incorporate bar codes that can be scanned by smart phones.  In Niger, Wahaya slaves are sometimes made to wear heavy brass ankle bracelets to signify their slave status.  (5,6, 7a, 7b)
In the past, slavery was an important part of world economies, and a large percentage of many nations were slaves.  Here is a sampling of nations who's historical slave prevalence we know (numbers are rounded).

Percentage of 
Population Enslaved
(by Year Recorded)

150 BC - Rome - 30-40%
1086 - England - 10%
1930 - Ethiopia - 12% to 25%
1910 - Korea - 30% to 50%
1860 - United State - 13%


The percentage of the world population enslaved today is lower than at any time in modern history, and the money generated by slavery today is "tiniest proportion of the global economy to ever be represented by slave labor." (2)   The exact percentage of slaves in the world today is impossible to  determine slavery today is  mostly a criminal, underground activity, and no longer publicly recorded as it often was under legal slavery.  But the largest  slave population in the world today is most likely Mauritania, where an estimated 4% of the population is still enslaved. (2, 8, 9) 

"The past, the present, and the future are really one:  They are today"
~Harriet Beecher Stowe, 18th Century Abolitionist

Sources listed at the bottom of this page.


One winner will receive the items pictured above...

Set of 3 "Voices of Freedom" Bookmarks by 8th Wonder Creations

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1.  Wikipedia: 
1b. Slavery
1c. Abolition of Slavery Timeline
1d. Treatment_of_slaves_in_the_United_States
1e. Human Branding
1f. History of Tattooing
1g. Slavery in Ancient Rome
1e. 1860 US Census

2.  How to Combat Modern Slavery, 2010 TED Talk by Kevin Bales (Transcript)

3. Sexual Violence in Labor Trafficking

4.  Object Record:  Slave Collar

5.  Tattood Trafficking Survivors Reclaiming Their Past - The Guardian

6. The Ink 180 Story

7.  Anti Slavery.org
7a. Descent Based Slavery
7b. Wahaya:  Young Girls Sold Into Slavery

8.  Global Slavery Index - 2014 Report

9.  "The Global Markets in Modern Day Slavery" by Gary Craig Criminal Justice Matters, Volume 97, Issue 1, 2014

10 "Twenty First Century Slaves:  Combating Global Sex Trafficking" by Siddharth Kara