The legacy of slavery never appears to be far from the lips of the angry and the gleeful eyes of a media machine that revels in creating friction. It is an issue as divisive as it ever was, but it is also one of the few hot topics surrounded by such myth and misleading information that one wonders if the waters on this are muddied with intent.
It seems strange that despite having ended in the U.S. in 1865 and in the U.K. in 1833, slavery – in one form or another – still exists today. How is this possible, you might ask? Have you ever met someone who trafficks in human beings? Have you ever heard of a neighbor owning an actual person? And yet it does happen. To discover how this abhorrent practice continues today, even thriving in some places, we need to ask the age-old question: who benefits?
How many people alive in the United States today would support slavery? That’s a key question that is never asked. There will undoubtedly be a tiny minority, almost negligible on a nationwide scale, but the overwhelming majority would respond with a resounding “no.” So how is this still an issue that divides us?
Facing the Truth
There are many on both sides of the political divide who believe that the legacy of slavery still exists, but not that actual slavery is taking place right under their noses. Surely, if the actors on either side wanted real resolution, a coming together, a cause that could unite, it should be the eradication of this great evil. But these self-same folks who engage in historical revisionism are just not willing to see the plain truth.
Slavery was always – and still is – big business.
When we think of slavery, we often envisage black people in chains, working in fields and being treated as something less than human. But that is an era gone-by; it’s neither as open nor as blatant right now. There are many forms that contemporary slavery takes today, from sex workers being trafficked around the world to migrants being promised a better life in a new country – only to be held without paperwork or with a family under threat back home. Modern slaves work in salons, cannabis fields, domestic help, construction sites, and factories – and let’s not forget the young victims of forced marriages.
So who is behind it all? That’s a difficult question to answer, but perhaps an easier one would be: Who allows it to happen?
The fact is that globalists bear a whole lot of responsibility for allowing this disgraceful trade to continue. A little outlandish, you might think – after all, Big Tech, giant retailers, and major industries have policy after policy in place to prevent slavery. But consider this: In the United Kingdom, it is a requirement that all major companies with a turnover exceeding £36 million publish an annual “Modern Slavery Act” statement. So clearly, the government is aware that global supply chains and companies have an effect on actual slavery. But how, and why does it continue if these wonderful mega-corporations are printing the truth about their global suppliers?
From Far Away Lands …
Let’s first look at slavery outside of Western nations, which is by far the larger proportion. In the fields of Asia and in the mines of Africa, lives are squandered in the name of production at ever-lower cost. The owners of these modern-day plantations are keen to do business with the squeaky-clean American companies who virtue signal all the livelong day. What better way for these folks looking to get a deal with major conglomerates than by cutting wage costs to virtually zero?
Consider the plummeting prices of solar panels and wind turbines. Has the technology in mineral extraction really improved so much that suppliers in South America and southern Asia can keep dropping the prices on raw materials?
If you want a concrete example of how the cost of labor is genuinely the primary variable, simply look to the ever-expanding textile industry and its unquenchable thirst for fast fashion. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, China was the go-to place for textiles; the trade shows in Guangdong are still legendary in their scope. But in recent years, although China still controls much of the fabric dying and sales internationally, the production and processing of the raw materials have shifted to countries with lower labor costs, namely Vietnam. And if that particular textile producer is not complicit in the great evil, what about further back along the line? These companies need power and fuel, too.
So even “the factory of the world” is now outsourcing to places that can get people working for a few cents a day; this is the incentive for slavery.
When we buy a new shirt or even bedding, perhaps we look for the Fair Trade stamp to soothe an uneasy conscience. But we are fooling ourselves if we think that seal guarantees our cheap goods are free from the tinge of slavery.
… To Our Own Shores
And what of inside our own borders? The latest figures suggest that in the United States alone, there are about 400,000 actual slaves, according to the Global Slavery Index. Again, there are many questions the globalists must answer.
Sex trafficking of women and children – many of whom are forced to become drug addicts and lead short, brutal lives before being disposed of – are all but ignored when it comes to discussing slavery. The question we should be asking is how these unfortunates get here. Very few are native-born Americans. They are brought over the border by coyotes and sold to gangs and cartels, who have connections in South America, and then just disappear.
Who keeps the border porous? Who insists that we abolish ICE? Who spends billions of dollars to make puppet politicians oppose border security? Globalists. They want the cheap labor that comes with illegal immigration and are quite content that child slavery and rape is just a side-effect of their actions.
In the U.K., modern-day slaves are found working in car washes, being sent out as beggars, or forced to work in criminal gangs. They are promised a new life in a new, rich country. They hand over their passports and find themselves sharing a house with 15 other men or women – their wages forever withheld to pay for rent, spurious charges, clothes, uniforms, work tools, and food – and then they’re left with literally nothing. They have no passport and no money; all they own is the fear that they will be imprisoned or that reprisals will be taken against their families back home. How could this happen in modern Britain? Three words: The European Union.
The E.U. “guarantees” four freedoms. Free movement of goods, capital, services, and, of course, labor. Without border controls, people are trafficked from the poorer states to the richer, where they dream of a better future and end up slaves. And yet, globalists and multi-national corporations insist that the borders remain open, unchecked, “free.”
A Question of Choice
As often happens when folks talk about slavery, the question of value is brought up. How can a decent human being put a cash value on someone’s very life? How can a historical slave owner see a living breathing person and attach a dollar value? Most people today likely agree that this is an inhuman attitude and action.
So why are the globalists and multi-nationals doing just this? They are looking at their balance sheets and making decisions based on their bottom lines. They choose to work with outfits that pay the workers a pittance or less. They decide to advocate open borders when even governments admit that it increases human slavery. They make these decisions, damn the consequence, and spend extra millions creating a public image of virtue and valor.
Perhaps we need to talk about slavery more, not less, but change the focus. The past is gone; there is nothing we can do for those whose lives were squandered by bad people making inhuman decisions. Yet we can and must talk of the future, of how to stop more people suffering that same ignoble fate. The globalists, the money-hungry behemoths that run every major corporation, have a lot to answer for; they are complicit in the perpetuation of slavery, the trafficking of children across virtually open borders. It’s time to stop arguing about the past and to begin dealing with the present.
Read more from Mark Angelides.