The Poverty Created by Free Market Fundamentalism is Increasing the Number of Slaves Around the World

The Poverty Created by Free Market Fundamentalism is Increasing the Number of Slaves Around the World

By Ian Wilkinson

Mention slavery to most people today, they would probably think you were talking about the 16th to 19th Centuries' transatlantic slave trade, and be horrified to learn that slavery (for example, bonded labour debt slavery in the Indian subcontinent and Brazil) is a huge and growing global problem involving tens of millions of people. That is why the world's oldest international human rights group, Britain's Anti-Slavery International, involved in the campaign to stamp out the transatlantic slave trade under their original name, the Anti-Slavery Society, have to continue their largely under the media radar campaigning and educational work. This attracts little attention in a world in which Western media and news agencies shape the global news agenda, because today's slaves are overwhelmingly found in poor countries outside the West, not in the US as they were in the days of the transatlantic slave trade. Most people would also be horrified to learn that, according to a division of the UN, the US State Department, the BBC, and other major Western media, three governments and elements of a fourth continue to back the slave trade, which is why two of them jail anti-slavery activists, as I will explain. There are in fact far more slaves today than the total number of victims of the transatlantic slave trade, partly because the modern world's population is so much bigger. This BBC News article quotes the UN's 20 million estimate for the total number of slaves in the world today: The "Encyclopaedia Britannica" webpage estimates that 7 to 10 million African slaves were shipped to North and South America: Even the number of child slaves today may exceed the number of African slaves who were shipped to the Americas. Al-Jazeera states, "There are at least 8.4 million child slaves in the world today": The total number of slaves in the world has in fact never been so high. "Time" magazine explained in its January 18, 2010 article, "South Africa's New Slave Trade and the Campaign to Stop It": "Despite more than a dozen international conventions banning slavery in the past 150 years, there are more slaves today than at any point in human history." Because of "poverty and the global demand for sources of cheap, expendable labour", slavery is a growing problem worldwide, according to the below Anti-Slavery International webpage: Even an adviser to the free market fundamentalist IMF admits that inequality, and thus poverty, is rising worldwide, as does the OECD, which also points out that inequality is growing faster in Britain than in any other wealthy country: So the global growth of slavery is no surprise. Inequality, and thus poverty, is not just fuelling the slave trade. The IMF adviser cited blames it for the 1929 and 2007 economic crises. The IMF has spent decades forcing most of the world's indebted countries to increase inequality so tax revenues can be diverted from helping poorer people to paying off debts to banks, and now admit that inequality is a drag on economic growth, that "equality appears to be an important ingredient in promoting and sustaining growth": The February 19, 2009 CNN article, "Modern-day slavery on the rise", also reveals that slavery is a growing problem worldwide: "The United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) surveyed more than 155 countries for its report on modern-day slavery, and says that the numbers are rising because many governments are not fighting the problem." A second Al-Jazeera article, which is about slavery in Brazil, also highlights the link between poverty and slavery: Britain's Anti-Slavery Society also say that slavery is growing worldwide, and cite the opinion of the Duke of Gloucester, who made a lot of money out of slavery (they were the main shareholders in the Royal African Company, which monopolised the British slave trade from 1660-1698, and which continued trading in slaves until 1731), that the slave trade is growing: The Anti-Slavery Society webpage also reveals that poverty and slavery are closely linked: The American anti-slavery group Free the Slaves, who estimate that there are 27 million slaves in the world today, also point out  that poverty is one of the factors which is responsible for what they say is a "resurgence of slavery": They state, "In 1850 it was difficult to capture a slave and then transport them to the US. Today, millions of economically and socially vulnerable [my italics] people around the world are potential slaves." The BBC News article about child slavery in West Africa, also talks about a poverty fuelled "resurgence" in that problem: The "Christian Science Monitor" article, "Sex slavery racket a growing problem in Latin America", reveals two other reasons why slavery is growing: the laxness of anti-slavery laws, and the fact that people are easier to traffic than arms and drugs: People can also be more profitable to traffic than drugs. That was a point which was made by the Channel 4 documentary "Unreported World", in its June 8, 2012 programme about Honduran women being trafficked into Mexico to work as slaves in the sex trade. You can watch the documentary below: The BBC article, "Why slavery persists", lists 3 poverty related reasons, as well as corruption and crime, population growth, governments not enforcing anti-slavery laws, the global sales of goods which use slavery in the supply chain, and buying slaves to free them, which can result in slave traders seizing more slaves, or refusing to release slaves, because they could be a valuable commodity to sell: Other articles about the growth of slavery today include: the 2011 "Boston Globe" article below, which describes slavery as "the fastest-growing illegal industry in the in the United States, second only to drugs"; the 2010 article from the Melbourne newspaper "The Age", which is about the growth of slavery in Australia; the 2010 CNN article, which is about the growth of child slavery in Haiti; the 2012 "Ecologist" magazine article, which discusses the growth of slavery in Europe; the 2011 Al-Jazeera article about the growth of bride trafficking in India; the 2012 "Guardian" article, which reveals that the number of slaves who are being trafficked into Britain is growing; and the 2012 "Observer" article, which explains that increasing numbers of British homeless people are being lured into slavery by gangs: There is nothing new about the rise in modern slavery, which cannot simply be blamed on the current economic crisis, as an 8th, BBC News article, "Millions 'forced into slavery,'" reported in 2002 that, "The number of people forced into slavery around the world has risen to 27 million, according to a report published by an international human rights group [Anti-Slavery International].": David Batstone's "Not for Sale: The Return of the Global Slave Trade - And How We Can Fight It" (HarperCollins, London, 2007), is a good book to read if you want to understand that free market fundamentalism is increasing the number of slaves around the world, as it states that, "Widespread poverty and social inequality ensure a pool of recruits as deep as the ocean" for the modern slave trade, and claims that only drug trafficking and illegal arms sales generate more money for criminals than the slave trade. This is an extract from the book which David Batstone has posted online: David Batstone's Not For Sale anti-slavery group estimate that, "There are more than 30 million slaves today, more than at any time in history": So it is disgraceful that as the BBC News article below shows, David Cameron decided initially, for eurosceptic reasons, to opt out of a new tougher EU anti-trafficking law which is designed to make that form of slavery, which involves several hundred thousand people being trafficked into and within the EU each year, easier to stamp out: "The Guardian" has also recently reported that David Cameron's cuts are threatening the future of Scotland Yard's anti-trafficking unit: It is also true of course that David Cameron is the most free market fundamentalist minded of all European Union leaders, which is why he is so hostile to the EU Social Chapter of workers' rights that other EU countries' conservative parties accept, which is why he withdrew Conservative MEP's from the conservative group in the European Parliament, and moved them into a far right group, and which is why he has ignored a series of recent major media stories, 2 of them in the most widely read newspaper among Tory MP's, "The Daily Telegraph", about large scale child hunger, which is the result of his social security, and school breakfast club budget cuts, and of the free market fundamentalists Margaret Thatcher's and John Major's earlier social security cuts, and privatisation of utility companies, who are notorious for extortionate prices, which a state run gas, electricity, or water company with a public service ethos, and not a private greed ethos, would not charge: Slavery mainly affects non-white people, and top Conservatives are notoriously racist. For example, one of Margaret Thatcher's junior ministers, the late Alan Clark, openly admitted in his diaries, which were published the year after his death as "Diaries: Into Politics" (Weidenfield and Nicolson, London, 2000), that he was a Nazi who supported the Third Reich's genocidal mass killings. He also admitted that he admired the fascist National Front: "Yes, I told him, I was a Nazi, I really believed it to be the ideal system, and that it was a disaster for the Anglo-Saxon races and the world that it was extinguished...Oh yes, I told him, I was completely committed to the whole [Nazi] philosophy. The blood and the violence was an essential ingredient of its strength, the heroic tradition of cruelty every bit as powerful and a thousand times more ancient than the Judaeo-Christian ethic." (p.280) "Earlier, at my [MP's] surgery, two real NF members had come in, for a chat. And I thought how good they were, and how brave is the minority, in a once great country, who still keep alive the tribal essence." (p.112) Mende Nazer, who when she was 12 years old, was abducted from her village in Sudan by slave traders, and sold as a domestic servant slave to a family in Khartoum, who later sold her to a Sudanese diplomat in London, which enabled her to escape, and successfully claim asylum, said of David Cameron's initial disinterest in signing up to the EU new anti-slavery law: "I don't think the Government is doing what they should do to terminate this awful practice. They don't want to sign the EU convention. Why? For me it's nothing to do with politics; we're talking about a human crisis here...The Government doesn't want to take any steps to believe those who are suffering, because they want to be on good terms with governments in the countries the diplomats come from...The country has to decide whether they believe the experiences of those who have been trafficked or whether they would rather keep their relationship with the government of the country the slave comes from." You can read that quote from an "Independent" article, which also discusses anti-slavery campaigners' efforts to persuade David Cameron and Nick Clegg to sign up to the new EU trafficking law here: It is even more disgraceful that since then, David Cameron has decided that his Coalition is to be one of only 9 of the 183 governments which are members of the UN International Labour Organisation, that refuses to back a UN anti-slavery convention which is designed to protect domestic servants like Mende Nazer, 95% of whom are paid below the legal minimum wage, from slavery. Not surprisingly, Anti-Slavery International criticised David Cameron's attitude, which helps people to break the law, by paying their servants illegally low wages, or no wages, and which reminds me of the George W. Bush Administration's decision to be the only government on Earth which, as the below US Congressional Research Service report explains in the summary at the start, refused to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which banned the sale of children. Somalia also did not ratify that Convention, but only as it had no functioning government at that point. Its barely functioning national government politicians have since agreed to ratify it: As the UN webpage shows, the US is also 1 of only 7 countries which have not ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, which is partly designed to protect women from human trafficking slavery. Other countries which have not ratified that treaty, include such beacons of women's rights as Iran and (Northern) Sudan: You can read about David Cameron's disinterest in protecting servants from slavery and illegally low pay, and about Anti-Slavery International's criticism of his attitude, in the below "Guardian" article: You can read about David Cameron' being one of only 9 national leaders who refused to back the UN anti-slavery convention in the below Human Rights Watch article: Other countries whose leaders refused to sign, included such beacons of freedom and democracy as (Northern) Sudan, whose President, Omar al-Bashir, is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity, Swaziland, where political parties are banned, and the king has pretty much absolute power, Singapore, which executed more people per person than any country on Earth between 1994 and 1999, and whose government has been accused of presiding over a "happy-face fascism" state, and Malaysia, which, like Singapore, executes even small scale cannabis dealers. The fact that David Cameron is one of only 9 leaders of the 183 ILO member governments who refuses to agree to the new anti-slavery convention, is a fact that anyone who thinks Cameron is the liberal politician he claims to be, ought to think about. In reality, he is one of the most regressive, free market fundamentalist national leaders on the planet. Not surprisingly, David Cameron refused to even issue a simple apology for the British role in the transatlantic slave trade, when he was asked to do so by a journalist from the Afro-Caribbean "Voice" newspaper: His decision to allow big companies like the tax haven using tax avoiders Tesco to employ the unemployed for no pay, has also led to his government being sued, because Article 4 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which Britain is a signatory to, prohibits slavery and forced labour: As Anti-Slavery International point out, Tesco, and other British companies, also sell clothes produced by Indian child slaves: Luckily, a bill to create an annual Anti-Slavery Day became law the month before David Cameron became Prime Minister, so he has had to go along with it, despite his relaxed attitude to slavery: You can read about Mende Nazer's story in her book, "Slave: The True Story of a Girl's Lost Childhood and Her Fight for Survival" (Virago, London, 2004), which explained that (North) Sudanese government ministers have an even worse attitude to slavery than David Cameron and George W. Bush: "All this culminated in a number of Sudanese government ministers intervening directly to try to pressurise those who had helped me escape [from domestic servant slavery at the home of a senior (North) Sudanese diplomat in London] to stop shielding me." (p.298) Mende Nazer's story also inspired the August 30, 2010 Channel 4 programme "I Am Slave". George W. Bush's refusal to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child also explains why, "President Bush decided Wednesday to waive any financial sanctions on Saudi Arabia, Washington's closest Arab ally in the war on terrorism, for failing to do enough to stop the modern-day slave trade in prostitutes, child sex workers and forced laborers", to cite an article in the "Washington Post" of September 19, 2005 which you can read here: His refusal to ratify a convention which outlaws the sale, and thus ownership of children, and refusal to impose sanctions on Saudi Arabia over its relaxed attitude to slavery, was not surprising, because Hanniford Schmidt, an activist from the Yes Men, an American anti-World Trade Organisation, anti-free market fundamentalism group, who managed to get themselves invited to conferences as WTO representatives by creating a fake WTO website, was praised by a George W. Bush Administration era Director for African Affairs at the Office of the US Trade Representative, Laurie Ann Agama, after he gave a speech at a free market fundamentalist conference in which he suggested that allowing corporations to own Africans, which he openly described as "compassionate slavery", would be a good idea. See the Yes Men webpage to find out about Laurie Ann Agama's support for compassionate slavery: The Yes Men also made a humourous film in 2003 called "The Yes Men", in which they filmed free market fundamentalists agreeing with every outrageous proposal of that type that they came up with{ Hanniford Schmidt's pro-compassionate slavery speech also praised George W. Bush's "compassionate conservatism" slogan, which David Cameron has of course used. As George W. Bush and David Cameron are both relaxed about the global slave trade, it is clear that compassionate conservatism is simply an Orwellian double talk slogan which has been used to deceive people into thinking that Bush and Cameron are humane politicians. I discussed the fact that "compassionate conservatism" is a term which was coined by Marvin Olasky, a supporter of the Christian Reconstruction Movement, a Judaist and Christian fundamentalism ("Old Testament" law) influenced, pro-slavery, free market fundamentalist, far right, anti-democracy religious group, in the below article: The CRM support slavery as "The Old Testament" endorses it, in for example, "Exodus" 21:1-4 and 21:7, and "Leviticus" 25:44-46. In the article below, I discussed Charles Murray, and the other fascist, or fascism influenced writers who have played a little known role in inspiring David Cameron's welfare state policies, and who oppose all aspects of welfare states, including the National Health Service, and all social security benefits. I also highlighted Cameron's admission to Conservative leader in the House of Lords Lord Strathclyde, that he wants to get rid of all social security benefits. If he were to get away with scrapping all social security benefits, which is of course what the writers who support a pro-slavery ideology (fascism) want him to get away with, there would obviously be an even bigger explosion in child hunger than there already is in Britain: Two other books which you have to read if you want to understand why free market fundamentalism is increasing the numbers of slaves around the world, are Professor Richard Peet's "The Unholy Trinity: The IMF, World Bank and WTO" (Zed Books, London, 2003), and Professor Richard Wilkinson's and Kate Pickett's "The Spirit Level: Why Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better" (Penguin, London, 2009). "The Unholy Trinity" quotes a number of anti-poverty groups who all claim that millions of children are being killed each year by the slavery fuelling poverty which the free market fundamentalist IMF, World Bank, and WTO are responsible for creating. "The Spirit Level" uses a mountain of scientific studies data that the authors gathered over a 30 year period, to show that extremely unequal societies (which are the societies in which slavery flourishes best), create more violent crime, property crime, drug abuse, mental illness, lack of trust between people, and other problems than more equal societies. Those problems drive some people in, for example Eastern Europe, to try to escape to Western Europe, which leads, in some cases, to them being tricked by fake job offers from human traffickers into becoming, for example, slave prostitutes. If you read those 2 books, you will understand why slavery is overwhelmingly a poor country problem, and why slavery will never be stamped out until poverty is made history worldwide. Even in a wealthy country like Britain, poverty leads to slavery, because, for example, British prostitutes, who mostly do that job for poverty reasons, can end up as slaves of pimps. The website of Against Violence and Abuse, who campaign to stop violence against women and girls, mentions the fact that 74% of British prostitutes do that job for poverty reasons, so you have to make poverty history in wealthy as well as poor countries if you want to stamp out slavery: That is certainly not going to happen if people vote for free market fundamentalist politicians like David Cameron who advocate "compassionate conservatism", because supporter of the pro-slavery CRM Marvin Olasky supports scrapping the welfare state, as the below article points out: Doing that would of course lead to a sharp rise in not only hunger, but also slavery, as, for example, some women would turn to prostitution to feed themselves, and end up as the slaves of pimps, and as more homeless people would end up as the slaves of gangs. The below "Don't fall for David Cameron" 2006 article by "Independent" journalist Johann Hari, points out that under compassionate conservative George W. Bush, American poverty rose by an average of 4.4% each year between 2001 and 2006, and that 5 million more American children dropped below the poverty line during that period: Examples of modern slavery, which in some cases involve a racist dimension, as I will explain in this article, include: bonded labour in places like India, Pakistan, Brazil, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh, which involves people who are in some cases sold from one employer to another, being forced to do unpaid work to pay off high interest rates debts, including, in some cases, children or grandchildren who have inherited their parent's or grandparent's debt (bonded labourers are not all slaves, as they are sometimes paid low wages, but often their wages are so low, that they cannot pay off their debts); adults who are trafficked across borders, and forced to work for no pay; poor West African parents being tricked into selling their children by promises that they will be educated, or given professional training by a wealthy family, when, in reality, slave labour will be their fate, or having their children abducted; people like Mende Nazer being abducted by slave traders in (Northern) Sudan, so they can be sold to (Northern) Sudanese families as domestic servant slaves; children being forced to fight for, or work as domestic or sex slaves for guerilla groups like Uganda's Lords Resistance Army; slave labour camps for dissidents in Communist states like the former Soviet Empire, China, Laos, Vietnam, North Korea, and Cuba; and Burma's military regime, which is now making democratic reforms, forcing people, including children, to work for no pay building railway lines and other infrastructure. I will explain later that, despite the democratic reforms, slavery continues in Burma. As Anti-Slavery International point out on their bonded labour webpage, "In South Asia, it is rooted in the caste system...": Bonded labour and the caste system were criminalised by the 1950 Indian Constitution, and although the Indian Government tries to help lower caste, and outside and below the caste system "Untouchable" (Dalit) people, with positive discrimination that helps them to get into universities and government jobs, there are relatively few bonded labour prosecutions. The often racist dimension to India's bonded labour slavery, is that historically, the caste system was a racist way for the lighter skinned, higher caste, "Aryan" invaders of Ancient India, to subjugate darker skinned indigenous Indians, which is why even today, thousands of years after the establishment of the caste system, higher caste people tend to be lighter skinned than lower caste and Dalit people, who make up the vast majority of bonded labourers. The fact that the caste system is so old, and is part of the Aryan Hindu religion, is of course why it is so difficult for a 62 year old constitution to get rid of it, because it has culturally influenced mostly Hindu India to such a large extent, which is perhaps why some, no doubt mostly Hindu fundamentalist Indian officials, seem to be disinterested in combating bonded labour, and is definitely why discrimination against Dalits, which has a lot to do with their enslavement, is still a huge problem in India, as the below "Times of Bombay" article explains: So it is no surprise, that as the below BBC News story points out, Anti-Slavery International claim that there are still millions of bonded labour slaves in India: The BBC World Service article reveals that there are also an estimated 5 million bonded labour slaves in Pakistan: Although that country's 1992 Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act outlawed that form of slavery, the below 2010 US State Department report states that, "...Pakistani officials have yet to record a single conviction...": Moreover, a UN article points out that, "In the days and months after the [Pakistani] Supreme Court's judgment of 1989 [which also outlawed bonded labour], tens of thousands of bonded labourers in Pakistan's brick kilns left the jobs which they had been doing as a result of the pressure of debt bondage. Progress was swift and it seemed that the millions of people reported to be held in debt bondage in the country would soon be free. "However, in 1999 we are obliged to conclude that, despite temporary progress following the Supreme Court's judgment, debt bondage remains both widespread and virtually unchallenged by the Government of Pakistan. Indeed, it is both remarkable and tragic how little government officials have been willing to do to enforce the country's laws and to bring an end to debt bondage, and how willingly they appear to tolerate its persistence." You can read that UN article here: Tens of thousands of bonded labour slaves were in any case a small percentage of Pakistan's estimated 5 million slaves, which means that even straight after the Supreme Court judgement, its government was as relaxed as ever about slavery, which is why, as of 2010, there had been no convictions under its 1992 law banning bonded labour. The situation in Brazil is better, as the Brazilian Government's National Plan for the Eradication of Bonded Labour, which was launched in 2003, has been making good progress, according to the UN's International Labour Organisation. According to the below 2009 CNN webpage, there are still "up to 40,000" slaves in Brazil, though it also points out that in 2008, Brazilian officials mounted 133 raids which freed 4634 of them, and that since 1995, 33,000 Brazilian slaves have been freed: Slavery in Brazil has a racist dimension, as poverty, and thus slavery in that country, is a primarily black problem, as the below BBC News story reveals: The situation in Nepal, which also has caste system linked bonded labour, is also better, because, as the below Anti-Slavery International news story explains, in 2008, 20,000 slaves were freed by the government, which also cancelled their debts: Nepalese slaves also tended to be Dalits, as the below UN article about freed bonded labourers reveals: Caste system related bonded labour continues to be a problem among the primarily Hindu Tamil minority in Sri Lanka, as the International Dalit Solidarity Network webpage explains: Another IDSN webpage reveals that bonded labour also continues to be a problem in Bangladesh: As many people already know, human trafficking slavery is now a huge problem globally. According to the UN, about 2.5 million people are at any one time the victims of human trafficking: The US State Department says that 13 countries "do not meet minimum standards on fighting trafficking, and are not making significant efforts to do so": The UN said in 2009 that human trafficking is a growing problem, as many countries are ignoring it: Because of the vast scale of global poverty which free market fundamentalism is creating, the demand for cheap labour worldwide, and the planet's growing population, the kind of plantation slavery which people read about in books on the transatlantic slave trade, is in some countries also a growing problem. The below BBC News article discusses West African child slaves working on cocoa plantations to produce chocolate for the UK market: The below 2nd BBC News article, "West Africa's child slave trade", which is about child slaves working as, for example, domestic servants, explains that poor parents being tricked into selling their children by promises from slave traders that they will be given education or professional training by a wealthy family, when, in reality, slave labour will be their fate, or having their children abducted by slave traders, are increasing problems in West Africa, which was of course the main source for slaves who were taken to the Americas: UNICEF estimate that 200,000 children a year are trafficked in West Africa: Black African children being abducted and sold into slavery (by racist Arab slave traders) in another part of Africa (Sudan), also continues to be a problem. When escaped black Sudanese slave Mende Nazer was abducted as a child from her village by Arab slave traders, she explained in her already cited book, that she was first sold to an Arab family in Khartoum, who forced her to work 7 days a week as their unpaid domestic servant, and racially abused her. They told her, for example, that Islam was not for black people like her. Her Arab Sudanese diplomat owner in London also forced her to work as a 7 days a week unpaid domestic servant. The UN has accused the Arab (North) Sudanese authorities, who publicly say that they oppose slavery, of being quietly in favour of the racist abduction and enslavement of black South Sudanese people: As the above article explains, the (North) Sudanese regime responded to the 6 UN reports which accused it of being involved in slavery, by issuing a fatwa against everyone who opposed the regime, and by directly threatening the author of the reports. As the idea that modern Arab slave traders are enslaving people for partly racist reasons (financial profit is of course also always a reason for the slave trade), might sound far fetched to some people, here are 3 BBC News articles from the last decade about the Arab Sudanese enslavement of black Sudanese people: The 2010 US State Department report here also accuses (Northern) Sudan's Arab government of being involved in slavery, and human trafficking: Do not forget that the Arab regime in Khartoum killed possibly 400,000 black people in its Darfur region, and possibly 2,500,000 black people in 2 civil wars with its southern region, which, not surprisingly, voted overwhelmingly (98.83%) in 2011 for independence from (Northern) Sudan in a UN run referendum. Moreover, the already cited BBC News article about modern slavery, claims that, "In Abidjan [the capital of the Ivory Coast] child trafficking is said to be largely in the hands of the Lebanese": Furthermore, the Arab enslavement of black Africans began over 800 years before Europeans began the transatlantic slave trade, and involved a lot more slaves. The below "Encyclopaedia Britannica" "Black History" webpage states that, "Approximately 18,000,000 Africans were delivered into the Islamic trans-Saharan and Indian Ocean slave trades between 650 and 1905": By pointing out that fact, I am not trying to belittle the contribution of the slave trading Western colonial powers to the creation of modern poverty and slavery, just pointing out the facts, because people tend to know a lot more about the Western slave trade than the Arab slave trade. For example, the slave revolt in Haiti (which ended French colonial rule over that country), and the frequent slave revolts in Jamaica (which were the key reason that the British decided to abandon slavery) are well known, but the African slave revolts in the Arab world, are, like the Arab slave trade, much less well known than the transatlantic slave trade. Alexandre Popovic's book, "The Revolt of African Slaves in Iraq in the 3rd/9th Century [the 3rd Century in the Islamic calendar, and the 9th Century in the Christian calendar]" (Markus Wiener Publishers, Princeton, New Jersey, 1999), discusses one little known African slave revolt in Iraq which lasted for over a decade (869-883), and which also involved local poor Arabs. Arab slave traders have also historically enslaved more types of people than black Africans. The below BBC historical webpage says that they owned African, Central Asian, and Central and Eastern European slaves, but Arab slave trader pirates also abducted people from the coastal areas of Southern Europe, and even from coastal areas as far north as Britain and Iceland, as Professor Robert Davis's book, "Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast, and Italy, 1500-1800" (Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, 2004) explains: Of course, Europeans also enslaved more types of people than black Africans (forced labour was used by colonial powers, and most of Europe had a serfdom slavery system from the Roman Empire until as late as 1861 in the case of the Russian Empire, which is why the 1086 "Domesday Book" census found that about 10% of the English population were slaves, and about 20% in some areas), but even so, it was only the rise of Western power which put a stop to much of the Arab slave trade. For example, slavery was only abolished in Saudi Arabia in 1962, under pressure from US President John F. Kennedy. Some other Arab nations also only abolished slavery long after Europe, North America, and South America (Brazil was the last country on those 3 continents to abolish slavery, in 1888, which perhaps partly explains why it still has a large slavery problem today). For example, Qatar only abolished slavery in 1952, Yemen only abolished it in 1962, the United Arab Emirates in 1963, and Oman in 1970. Moreover, in partly Arab run Mauritania, the authorities continue to quietly back slavery, as the below 2011 UN article about Mauritanian leaders owning slaves, and jailing anti-slavery campaigners reveals: The below 2011 "Guardian" article about the jailing of one of the campaigners, points out that his detention coincided with his group, SOS Esclaves Mauritanie (in English, SOS Mauritania Slaves), being given France's human rights award, to recognise its work campaigning against slavery in Mauritania and nearby countries, which may mean that the Mauritanian authorities wanted to punish him for winning the award, and drawing international attention to the continuing existence of the slave trade they support in their country: After all, as the Anti-Slavery International webpage explains, Mauritania has officially "abolished" slavery several times before, but, according to SOS Esclaves Mauritanie, about 18% of its population are still slaves, so these "abolitions" were clearly just deceptions which were designed to take the world's attention away from the Mauritanian authorities' ownership of slaves, and support for the slave trade: Here are 2 other major Western media articles about the continuing existence of slavery in Mauritania. They reveal that not only the local Arab and Berber elite, but also the local black African elite are involved in the enslavement of local black Africans: The enslavement of black Africans is also quietly backed by the light and dark skinned ethnic group elites who run a third nation with a pro-slavery government, Niger, as another UN article reveals: Here are 2 major Western media articles about the continuing existence of slavery in Niger: In Niger, the local authorities have also responded to anti-slavery campaigning with imprisonment, as the below ABC News article about Niger's jailed anti-slavery movement leader reveals: This "Los Angeles Times" article explains that in Niger, even government ministers own slaves, so it is hardly surprising that the Nigerien authorities are not genuinely interested in bringing slavery to an end: Islamic fundamentalism is as much to blame for some governments continuing to back slavery, as Hindu fundamentalism is to blame for the continuing existence of bonded labour, and as Judaist and Christian fundamentalism are to blame for the relaxed about slavery, George W. Bush and David Cameron using a slogan coined by a supporter of a pro-slavery religious group. Islamic fundamentalists' Sharia law is based on "The Koran", which endorses slavery in, for example, the verses 2:178, 4:92, and 16:95, and the words and acts of Mohammed, which is why it includes regulations for how a Muslim should treat slaves, because, according to the below BBC webpage, "Slavery in Islam", Mohammed himself owned slaves, which explains why Muslims told 19th Century Western anti-slavery campaigners, that what they were trying to do was an attack on Islam: A fourth mostly Muslim country where elements of the government quietly back slavery, is Pakistan, according to Human Rights Watch, who explain that slaves can be found all over Pakistan, and not just in its "tribal" areas where the state's power is weak: "Throughout [my italics] Pakistan employers forcibly extract labor from adults and children, restrict their freedom of movement, and deny them the right to negotiate the terms of their employment. Employers coerce such workers into servitude through physical abuse, forced confinement, and debt-bondage. The government of Pakistan is complicit in these abuses, both by the direct involvement of the police and through the state's failure to protect the rights of bonded laborers. It rarely prosecutes or punishes employers who hold workers in servitude, and workers who contest their exploitation are often imprisoned under false charges." You can read that quote in the introduction to this HRW report: As I explained earlier, by 2010, no one had been prosecuted under Pakistan's 1992 Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, despite the fact that there an estimated 5 million bonded labourers in Pakistan, which means that they are not exactly rare and hard to find. However, the situation in Pakistan is better than it is in (Northern) Sudan, Mauritania, and Niger, as anti-slavery elements of the Pakistani state are able to, and do free bonded labourer slaves, which is why, for example, the below UN article discusses some slaves being freed by Pakistani courts, by a District Commissioner near Rawalpindi, and by the Special Task Force for Sindh (province) of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, though it is also talks about the authorities sometimes doing nothing when freed bonded labourers are abducted and reenslaved by their owners: One of the results of most of the Pakistani state's disinterest in freeing slaves, is the fact that there is a growing trade in Pakistani boys as young as 4, who are kidnapped and sold in the United Arab Emirates as camel race jockeys, as the below "Observer" article reveals: The "Sunday Times" article below reveals another result of most of the Pakistani state's disinterest in freeing slaves, as it explains that a local Al-Qaeda linked terrorist has been involved in selling kidnapped boys as domestic servants and sex slaves: Another man of violence who is involved in child slavery, is Joseph Kony, the leader of Uganda's notorious Lords Resistance Army, a Christian fundamentalist guerilla group, who are responsible for massacres in Uganda, Southern Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. They have also abducted Ugandan, South Sudanese, and DRC children to fight for them, or to serve as domestic or sex slaves, One 5 year old boy who the LRA abducted and forced to fight, is believed to have been the youngest child soldier on the planet. See page 20 of "Children at War" (University of California Press, Berkeley, 2006) by Peter Singer, who is not to be confused with Professor Peter Singer of "Animal Liberation: A New Ethic for Our Treatment of Animals" fame, who, ironically, writes about the human enslavement of animals, to read about his case: The BBC News discusses LRA domestic and sex slaves: Child soldiers have been conscripted or abducted in a number of African, Asian, and Latin American countries. The best place to find out about them, is the website and annual reports of the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, which includes Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, and which has links to the UN and the Red Cross: Martin Parsons' book about the effects of war on children, "War Child: Children Caught in Conflict" (Tempur Publishing, Stroud, 2008), claims that over 2 million child soldiers have been killed in wars since World War 2. The LRA is certainly not the only contemporary guerilla group who have forced children to fight. Child soldiers as young as 8 have been forced to fight for the Colombian communist guerilla group FARC (in English, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), as the below Radio Netherlands article reveals: The Nepalese Maoist guerillas, who are now part of Nepal's government, also forced children to fight for them, as the below "Guardian" article reveals: So it is no surprise that contemporary Communist regimes have used slave labour. Former Laotian dissident Bounsang Khamkeo's book, "I Little Slave: A Prison Memoir from Laos" (Eastern University Press, Spokane, Washington state, 2006), discussed Laos's slave camps for dissidents. Lee Hu'u Tri, who was a slave in a Vietnamese camp, has written a book called "Prisoner of the Word: A Memoir of the Vietnamese Reeducation Camps" (Black Heron Press, Mill Creek, Washington state, 2000). North Korea's slave camps are discussed in this"Independent" article: The Amnesty International webpage discusses a North Korean family who were tortured and sent to a slave camp, for trying to escape from their country, which resembles a giant prison: China has at least 1100 slave camps according to the below CNN article: The formerly Communist government of a 5th mostly Muslim nation, Uzbekistan, also quietly backs slavery, because it uses forced labour child slaves to pick cotton, as this Anti-Slavery International article points out: The 1993-2001 Danish Social Democrat Prime Minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, who later led the Socialist group in the European Parliament, once compared "Thatcherism" to communism and fascism, which was a reasonable comparison, given that all 3 of those ideologies result in more slavery. The late free market fundamentalist economist Friedrich von Hayek, who was a huge influence on Margaret Thatcher, wrote a book called "The Road to Serfdom", which argued that left wing economic ideas would lead to slavery, whereas in reality, it is only the totalitarian Left which leads to slavery. By contrast, the fascist and free market fundamentalist Right both lead to slavery, which it took liberal-left wing campaigning to outlaw in the 19th Century. If the free market fundamentalist Right monopolised political power, the living standards of poorer people would go endlessly downwards, so more and more people would be driven into slavery, and you would also see more and more workfare type forced labour, which the late, Adolf Hitler and the SS praising Austrian fascist politician Joerg Haider's Freedom Party introduced for the long term unemployed, when it became part of Austria's government, and which free market fundamentalist parties like the Dutch People's Party for Freedom and Democracy have introduced. Dutch workfare also has fascist roots, as I explained here: Poul Nyrup Rasmussen's comparison was not widely reported in Britain, but to understand that he was right, you only have to look at the fact that now Communist Party run China is cooperating with the West, as it is the primary cheap labour site for Walmart and other Western corporations, Western free market fundamentalist politicians are no longer interested in condemning its slave camps for dissidents, or its 90 hour weeks in factories for low pay, which of course proves that free market fundamentalists have the same slave owner mentality as communists and fascists. Nor do free market fundamentalists criticise China for its widespread child slavery, which is discussed in the below "New York Times" article: Not even the communists and the fascists have suggested that their slaves should be given food only, and no accommodation or clothing, but the free market fundamentalist World Bank, has in the past suggested to the post-apartheid South African Government, that some of its employees should be paid in food only, which meant that they would have been worse off than slaves, whose accommodation and clothing are paid for, though admittedly Nazi slaves were fed so little, and housed so badly, that they tended to die quickly . Cuba no longer has slave camps, but it used to have, as the below "New York Times" article explains: The Nazi concentration slave camp motto was "Work makes [you] free " ("Arbeit macht frei"), while the Cuban slave camp motto was "Work will make you men", which of course highlights the similarity between fascism and communism. David Cameron's pro-workfare, far right social security and pensions minister, Iain Duncan-Smith, uses the same Nazi slogan, as the below "Guardian" article reveals, which also highlights the similarity between free market fundamentalism and fascism and communism: The Soviet Gulag slave camps are well known of course, as are the Third Reich's slave concentration camps, the Nazis' use of slave labour in factories, and the World War 2 Japanese fascists' use of slave labourers and slave prostitutes in Asia. Other Communist regimes of the past had Gulag type camps, for example Romania and Bulgaria, and Cambodia's Khmer Rouge Communists turned their entire country into a slave camp in which people were forced to work for up to 140 hours a week. Another fascist regime of the past which had slave camps, was General Franco's Spain, whose slave camps for dissidents are mentioned in this "Time" magazine article:,9171,1129487,00.html Benito Mussolini's slave camps are discussed in a book by Professor Carlo Spartaco Capogreco, who talks about them here: The slave camps which were set up by Croatia's particularly grisly fascist dictatorship, whose massacres of Jews, Gypsies, and Serbs shocked even the Nazis, are discussed by the Holocaust research website: Finally, a modern dictatorship which is notorious for its use of slave labour, including child slave labour, is Burma's military regime, which uses slaves to build railways and other infrastructure. In 1996, John Pilger secretly shot a documentary for ITV called "Inside Burma: Land of Fear", which included footage of child slaves. You can watch the film on his website: Despite democratic reforms, state sponsored slavery continues to exist in Burma: I will conclude this article by pointing out first of all, that until poverty is made history by, for example, people electing governments which are run by political parties who will increase minimum wages to a living wage level, and who will also guarantee state funded living wage jobs to all unemployed people who need them, and rented homes to all homeless people, slavery will continue to be a major international problem. Unfortunately, only some small political parties like the American Green Party and the England and Wales Green Party back mandatory living wage minimum wages, and guaranteeing rented homes to all homeless people, and the American Green Party is possibly the only political party on the planet who support guaranteeing state funded living wage jobs to unemployed people, so there is no prospect of ending slavery for the foreseeable future in even wealthy countries. While it is a step forward that Labour leader Ed Miliband now argues for a voluntary living wage minimum wage, we really need a mandatory living wage minimum wage to make poverty, and thus slavery history in Britain. As no economic system has ever been able to always provide everyone who needs a job with one, guaranteeing living wage jobs to the unemployed is also essential if poverty and slavery are to be made history, so the American Green Party, who also support other wealth redistribution measures to help non-working sectors of the population to live a dignified life, is possibly the only political party on the planet which can be described as a make poverty and slavery history party.

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