The word ‘slavery’ often conjures brutal images of a long since vanquished historic project, but its practice, more commonly and legally referred to as human trafficking, continues to thrive in every corner of the globe – making it the world’s second largest criminal industry.
By Cassandra Clifford for ISN Insights
People are comparatively cheaper than they were in the 1600-1800s, when slaves were purchased for life. Now ownership tends to last only a few months to a few years, making slaves cheaper to purchase and more easily disposable. In 1850 the purchase price of a slave in the southern US averaged the equivalent of $40,000 today. According to Free the Slaves, a slave today costs an average of $90. People have become a disposable commodity, cheap and easy labor one can just toss out when no longer needed. Globalization and the post-World War II population boom have increased access to, and lowered the cost of, transportation, which has in turn contributed to the increased levels of global slavery. Victims are often driven into slavery by severe poverty or acute need for economic gain. Additionally, the ethnicity of today’s slave is rarely important.