10 Dark and Depressing Facts About Slavery

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Slavery is one of the most evil institutions in the world, and a horrifying habit that humans over the ages have continued to regress to. We have evidence of slavery as far back as recorded history goes, and it is quite likely it existed even before then. Some people like to think that in our modern age, slavery is being stamped out. While it is technically illegal in all countries today, it actually exists in some form or another in most countries in the world, just under a different name.

The truth is that there are more slaves now than ever in recorded history, and it may be harder to stamp out now than in the past. The problem is that much of it has gone dark, deeply under the table, or involves legal loopholes where people are not technically called slaves, but might as well be as far as practical purposes go. The world of slavery is a very dark place, and fears the light that is shed upon it.

10. One of the Most Common Ways Children Are Sold Into Slavery is By Their Own Parents

In many parts of the world children being sold into slavery by their own parents is incredibly and horrifically common. Some of the worst countries for this are countries like India and Cambodia, where there are many people living in poverty and desperation, who traffickers and those looking for slaves of their own are all too happy to take advantage of. Most of these parents cite financial desperation for why they sell their children, or sell their children’s sexual services. They will act as if it hurt them to do it, and state that they had debts and no other way, but it still seems like a horrible thing to do to your own child.

It is a sad state that the world is in that there are so many people living in such desperate poverty that they would sell their own flesh and blood for money, but it is one of the chief ways that children end up in slavery around the world. Sadly, while these parents often show some remorse, they clearly did not care enough to do whatever it takes to take care of their child, and put their child first, which is what a parent who truly loves their child would do. Unfortunately this type of problem is very hard to solve, as a region having people so hard-hearted that they would do such a thing has very many institutional problems that will take a great many years and a great amount of effort to fix.

9. When LGBT Youth Are Kicked Out By Their Parents in the USA, They Often End Up as Sex Slaves

Some parents in the United States are so convinced that being gay is evil that they literally stop loving their son or daughter when they tell them they are gay. Many young teens tell their parents they are gay and get kicked out of the house for their announcement. Not only is this already a very sad and morally questionable thing to do to a child, but to make matters worse, they are consigning a child who loved them, their own flesh and blood, to a possibly horrible fate.

Young LGBT kids are literally some of the most vulnerable in our society. They are often already ostracized at school, their families have kicked them out, they are struggling with their identity, have no one to help them, and they are scared. This makes them prime targets for predators, and statistics have shown that many young LGBT orphans end up trafficked and used by others for sexual services, almost always involving some form of coercion along the way. The youths tend to go along with far too much, because they have no more parental guidance, and no one to help them get by. When a predator comes along telling them they can help, it is far too easy for them to accept their “guidance” and then find themselves in a horrible situation they cannot get out of. Knowing this, anyone who truly loves their child could not imagine kicking them out, no matter how much issue they might take with them coming out.

8. Even in the US, Parents Sell Their Children as Slaves, or Sell Their Sexual Services

Most people would like to think of the United States as a place where parents are a bit more enlightened and would not sell their own children into slavery. However, the sad truth is that even here in the good old United States, an alarming number of trafficked children have reported either being sold as slaves as young children, or having their sexual services sold by their parents when they were very young. One girl recounts being trained as a prostitute and forced into the lifestyle starting at six years old, and her mother manipulated her by telling her that she would be a prostitute for mommy if she loved her.

People have also been caught just straight up selling their children, and sometimes seem to have little remorse for the action. Some people see a way to make a profit, and sadly do not care about their own flesh and blood. The underworld of child slavery is alive and well in the United States, and unfortunately, it is aided and abetted far too often by the children’s own parents, who sometimes train them as they grow up solely to be used for sex.

7. In India, Many Children Are Born Into a Form Of Hereditary Debt Bondage

Amnesty International and other organizations that track global slavery put the number of enslaved people around the world at roughly 30 million, and recent statistics show that roughly half of the modern day slavery originates in India. And we don’t mean India is taking people from other countries and holding them as slaves, we mean they are gladly keeping large amounts of their own people in slavery. Part of the problem is things like the caste systems, which often put people in forced social obligations where they are not truly free in terms of their actions. And another part of the problem is things like forced marriages, which are their own form of slavery.

However, the vast majority of it comes from something called hereditary debt bondage. Especially in rural areas, farmers often have to take out loans from landowners or others in the area, and often cannot ever properly pay them back. They end up working their entire lives for very little to try to pay back loans, and often die without ever having done so. In the United States and many countries, this debt would not carry on. In India, though, it is hereditary and oftentimes villagers in many rural areas are born owing large amounts of money to local landowners, and hence owing them their labor until they can pay the debt off. Unfortunately, the way these debts are structured, it is unlikely they ever will be paid off, ensuring that generations to come will continue to be born into slavery, working for free to enrich a nearby landowner.

6. Despite Major Company Promises, Chocolate is Still Harvested by Brutally Controlled Child Slaves

The Ivory Coast and Ghana produce almost all of the world’s chocolate, and nearly all of the work is harvested by brutally controlled child slaves. While the governments have technically made it illegal, this is really on the surface only, and child labor is still the rule of the day, with brutal beatings and harsh working conditions a regular way of life for the children of the area. The chocolate companies, in order to fight bad press, have claimed that they would stop child labor, but they keep pushing back their deadline for when they would bring an end to it, and it has now been about 15 years since their promise, and things aren’t getting better.

The chocolate companies will have you believe that the reason is because they cannot control the governments of those countries, and simply cannot force them to make the changes fast enough, but this is really a falsehood. The truth is that even just Nestle alone dwarfs the GDP of both of the biggest chocolate producing countries, and those countries rely on the big chocolate manufacturers for business. If they wanted to put real pressure on the child slavers they could, but profit is more important to them than morals.

5. Much of Online Porn Features Enslaved Women, Often From Southeast Asia or Eastern Europe

Porn is considered a totally victimless vice by most people, and in a lot of situations this is indeed the case. For example, if you know it was properly and legally made in the United States, you know no one is being trafficked or used as slave labor. However, much of the porn available online comes from very questionable sources all over the world, and it is hard to estimate just how much of it involves people who were coerced into what they are doing. Unfortunately many of the countries like Russia, China, and regions like Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe produce a lot of porn and are also known for being some of the worst for trafficking in the entire world.

In the Philippines, they have had a recent problem where young girls are tricked into revealing small amounts of themselves online, and then are blackmailed further until they are in too deep and forced to show more and more. In other words, they are being tricked into slavery online, and starting out forced into online pornography. After that, they are slowly graduated to being forced to perform physical acts and being entirely under the control of gangs of traffickers. And while most people tend to think of sex slaves as only being used as prostitutes, some trafficked victims, such as some in Japan, are also forced to work as nude dancers. Slavers do not limit the people they abuse to just one avenue of exploitation, but try to use them as fully as possible. The world of trafficking is a very evil and cruel place.

4. Some Electronics Manufacturers in China Imprison Their Workers and Treat Them Like Real Slaves

Foxconn is a company in China known for making lots of products for Apple, and being one of the worst employers in the world. The international light was shed on them when it came out that people were being forced to work 12+ hour shifts, were not being allowed to leave, were forced to live on campus, and that suicide attempts and actual suicides were common. The world called on Apple to force Foxconn to clean things up, but they really only made token efforts in order to save as much face and get the attention off their backs. Even after the entire thing was over, they felt that the scrutiny was unfair and undeserved.

The main complaint and issue was that they used mostly student interns, who were basically slaves. While they could leave at any time, they were basically forced against their will to work for Foxconn by their schools, because they had a worker shortage. If they did not work, they were told they would not graduate. When suicides became a problem, instead of fixing the long, abusive work days, they installed nets to stop the jumpers so they wouldn’t lose valuable slaves to the concrete below. As far as Foxconn is concerned, students are a resource for making phones, and education comes second. To imagine how crazy this really is, imagine if a university in the United States told you that you would not graduate if you didn’t go work as an intern at a local factory for free – learning absolutely nothing that has to do with your area of study.

3. Child Trading is an Under the Table But Far Too Common Practice That Helps Trafficking Thrive

One of the most bizarre and horrible things on our list is the people in the United States who have basically made a game out of exchanging children that they don’t want anymore. These people are known for adopting children, usually from outside the United States and that often have behavioral problems, and trying to raise them as their own. They quickly get frustrated because they are not cut out for it, and instead of doing a reasonable thing like contacting a proper foster agency about the situation, they take part in something called “private re-homing” where they go to online bulletin boards and advertise the kid as if they are an unwanted pet.

These children are then given away with nothing more than a notarized statement saying who the child’s new guardians are, with no real vetting of the new parents and no real paper trail for the authorities to follow. As you might imagine, many of these children end up disappearing, trafficked away to be a slave, because some parent out there treated a kid as if he was a puppy that they could just trade away. While there are attempts to shut these people down, they will always find ways to communicate with each other, and have helped create the vast network of underground slave children in the United States. The sad thing is that while all of these people are criminally negligent, most of them seem to truly not understand the gravity of their actions or what an awful thing they are doing to the child.

2. Au Pairs in the USA are Usually Treated as Slaves and Have Little Legal Recourse

Au pairs are foreign workers who come to the country and live with a family for a time, helping them with domestic duties such as babysitting, cleaning and cooking. The idea is that the au pair will be given meals, a very small stipend to buy things occasionally, and of course will not have to worry about rent because they have a place to live. Unfortunately, au pair programs are rife with abuse, and many au pairs are basically treated like chattel – slaves to be used as needed, and threatened into submission if necessary.

Many au pairs report being denied meals they are legally entitled to, and told they will have to buy their own. Many have been screamed at and abused horribly, only to have very little legal recourse, as it is usually their word against the hosts. To make matters worse, complaining either to the host or to anyone else usually ends up with retaliation and threats to send them back to their home country right away. The sad thing is that au pairs are basically the new indentured servants, and are treated with almost no respect at all. It is a program that needs a huge overhaul to prevent the rampant abuse currently plaguing it.

1. The Spartans Were Brutally Cruel and Horrible to Their Slaves – The Helots

The Spartans were known for being incredibly powerful warriors, and for great bravery on the battlefield. But when it came to their slaves, the Helots, they were incredibly cowardly. The Helots were bound to the soil, serving on their master’s land, unable to be sold or bartered. They worked for the Spartans and had no rights, but they also outnumbered the Spartans greatly. This left the Spartans constantly worried that the Helots would revolt one day and bring about their downfall, so they made plans to keep them constantly in check.

They would regularly patrol around the borders of the Helots’ land, looking for anyone who looked aggressive or troublesome, and would routinely humiliate and mistreat the Helots in order to keep them firmly in their place as slaves. However, their crowning blow to the Helots to remind them regularly who was in charge, and to keep their numbers down, was ritual slaughter. Once a year a day would be declared to kill Helots without any legal consequences, and many Helots would be slaughtered by young warriors practicing their stealth, in order to keep the Helots terrified and keep their numbers thinned. Their fear was not entirely unwarranted, as the Helots did attempt more than once to change their situation, although they were never given their freedom.

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