Are We So Timid?

Kevin Bales is a world-renowned scholar of slavery as well as president of Free the Slaves, the U.S. affiliate of Anti-Slavery International. He was a keynote speaker at a recent Loyola University Chicago symposium entitled “Slavery and Abolition Then and Now.” Per The Urban Coaster:

Slavery, as Bales and his organization define it, is “when one person completely controls another person, using violence to maintain that control, exploits them economically, pays them nothing and they cannot walk away.”

“This country was built on slavery and that’s no new statement,” said assistant professor of history at Loyola John Donoghue, PhD, who taught the class that culminated in the symposium. “But we have to continue to peel back the layers and discover just how pervasive it was.”

… Little about slavery has changed except the cost. The price to purchase a slave today has dropped from a historical average of about $40,000 in today’s money to only $90 in some parts of the world. Bales said that the drop in price was a result of basic supply and demand economics; there are more than enough vulnerable people to meet the demand of modern slavery.

“We don’t have to fight the same battles previous generations of abolitionists had to,” he said. “We’ve won the battles on morals, laws, and money.”

Bales said that the challenges today are raising awareness, commitment and resources, citing that it would cost only $10.8 billion to end modern day slavery across the world. He asked: “Are we so timid? If we can’t choose to end slavery, how free are we?”


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