Some time ago, my attention was redirected to this heinous situation by an acquaintance who spent a couple of years with the Peace Corps in Mongolia, where human trafficking – especially of girls – is rampant. John told me some truly horrendous stories that no one wants to hear. I can imagine that one can easily become overwhelmed and burnt out when faced with such evil on such a massive scale. It is for the reason of the sheer scale of the problem that I try to get to the ideology or mindset behind such behavior in order to stop it – and that’s largely why I critique deleterious and divisive religious ideologies in particular. As we know all too well, not a few religions – especially but not exclusively the so-called Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam – have been used to justify slavery, an appalling notion that continues unfortunately abundantly to this day.

“There are more slaves today than at any other time in history.”

So long as we have religious cults teaching that they and they alone are godly and that all nonbelievers are inferior subhumans to be exploited, this problem will never go away. Are there other reasons for slavery? Yes, of course, and we must work on those as well, including perversion, sadism, greed and desperation for money. But in the meantime, teaching impressionable children that nonbelievers/infidels are “evil” and “bad” and must be punished is certainly not helping, as it creates an automatic anti-empathetic mentality that sees “other,” who can then be taken advantage of.

“Over 2.2 million children are sold into the sex trade every year.”

The first article here discusses mainly black slavery as in Haiti, but the slave trade goes well beyond that, extending its evil tentacles to all corners of the world, targeting all types of vulnerable people.

Author Struggles to Stay Removed from Slave Trade

With $50 and a plane ticket to Haiti, one can buy a slave. This was just one of the difficult lessons writer Benjamin Skinner learned while researching his book, A Crime So Monstrous: Face-to-Face with Modern-Day Slavery.

Skinner met with slaves and traffickers in 12 different countries, filling in the substance around a startling fact: there are more slaves on the planet today than at any time in human history. Skinner speaks with Anthony Brooks about his experience researching slavery.

Though now illegal throughout the world, slavery is more or less the same as it was hundreds of years ago, Skinner explains. Slaves are still “those that are forced to work under threat of violence for no pay beyond sustenance.”

Something disturbing has changed however — the price of a human. After adjusting for inflation, Skinner found that, “In 1850, a slave would cost roughly $30,000 to $40,000 — in other words it was like investing in a Mercedes. Today you can go to Haiti and buy a 9-year-old girl to use as a sexual and domestic slave for $50. The devaluation of human life is incredibly pronounced….”

Here is a map from the U.S. State Department that shows the extent of the problem worldwide. When you click on a “tier” circle, it brings up suggestions on what should be done. As you can see from the tier markers, the problem is massive and global. The U.S. State Department site also includes its report for 2010.

Further Reading

What the average person can do
Peace Corps volunteering