I planned this column when I first joined Resurgent. It’s an uncomfortable topic. One that reveals the dark parts of human history. It’s going to be blunt. It’s going to reveal facts. It’ll be harsh at times. That topic is slavery.
We hope as humanity progresses that we would eliminate this terrible practice. Unfortunately, we continue to write new chapters. The end of this novel is nowhere near complete.
Today is Juneteenth in the United States. Check your iPhone calendar. Do an Internet search. It’s the so-called “independence day for African-American slaves” or something like that. I call it nonsense.
There’s no reason to celebrate this manufactured holiday. None at all. Slavery still exists in this country. If you’re celebrating the abolition of slavery in this country it must include all forms of slavery. You cannot distinguish between differing forms of exercising dominion over another human being, unless you have an agenda.
Celebrating this day is a form of tribalism. Identity politics. Burying your head in the sand while a plague continues to fester in this country. It’s going untreated.
It’s abhorrent that pundits claim this day must celebrated as an equal to Independence Day because during the first Independence Day all people were not free. Then why should we celebrate Juneteenth if the purpose is to end slavery?
It’s also timely considering the situation at the border. I won’t get into the details of that as that’s not the main point of this column, but facts are facts.
In order to understand the full crux of this article one must look at history. I’ll try to provide a short course on the subject.
Short History of Slavery
It’s hard find a true account of slavery. Bookshelves are littered with sensationalized accounts of slavery in America. One would think that it only existed in this country. That’s far from the truth.
I would encourage one to read Milton Meltzer’s book “Slavery: A World History.” I doubt most academics have actually heard of this book. If they have, they probably buried it. It hurts the narrative.
We most also distinguish between debt slavery and chattel slavery. The latter is what we commonly think of as slavery. It’s where one exercises dominion over another, a type of ownership of another person. Debt slavery is a different practice. This involves one being forced to work for another in order to pay a debt or other obligation.
To summarize, everybody is guilty of slavery. Every last creed, Every last culture. Every last race. Everybody. Again, I know this defeats the narrative that only certain races and cultures were either purveyors or victims of slavery, but it’s the truth. We’re all guilty. It’s existed since the dawn of time. And no, some forms are not worse than others.
In short, we all have slave blood in us. We all have slave owner blood in us. Nobody’s exempt.
Chattel slavery has existed since the dawn of civilization. Romans conquered the Celts as part of Caesar’s conquest of Europe. Tens of thousands of Native Europeans were enslaved as part of this endeavor. These same slaves were regarded as property, had no voting rights, were used for sexual exploitation, and sometimes summarily executed on the spot.
Arabs introduced slavery into Africa as part of the Indian Ocean slave trade which lasted from 650 to 1900. This slave trade predates the European slave trade by over 700 years. Barbary corsairs enslaved over 1 million Europeans. Oh, and 700 Americans were enslaved too. These pirates operated from Africa’s North Coast and raided seaside towns as far north as Iceland and England. Men captured were forced in a variety of manual labor duties. Females were often sold as concubines. Europeans children with blue eyes and blonde hair were the most coveted because of their angelic appearance. Most often they were sexually exploited. I’d encourage you to read a book called Pirate Coast.
The Arab Slave Trade left such an impact that 17 groups from North Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Persian Gulf all carry DNA from the enslaved population of sub-Saharan Africa.
The European Slave Trade picked up after the Catholic Church demanded that Christians stop enslaving each other. Portuguese ships arrived on African coasts where coastal African tribes traded slaves from the inferior interior African tribes they conquered in exchange for guns.
Look at what Genghis Khan (who was formerly a slave) and his Mongols did to Asia? Native Americans enslaved other tribes and Africans. Pacific Islanders enslaved each other. I’m not even touching the Far East.
It was European-Christians that first questioned the practice of chattel slavery. When England and the U.S. outlawed slavery the Arab slave trade actually increased.
The only places that chattel slavery really wasn’t prevalent were places were the population was big enough to sustain a viable workforce. Even then debt slavery became the norm. Think China. Think India.
Slavery is in our blood. Which leads to modern times.
Here comes the hard part. Most of us think that slavery is minimal or no longer exists; especially the pundits who claim slavery began and ended with America. Their ignorance only underscores the need for more education.
Modern slavery still takes the form of both chattel and debt. The International Labor Organization and Walk Free Foundation recently released a report indicating that at any time an estimated 40 million people across the world are victims of modern slavery. 16 million of those people are in forced labor. Approximately 15 million are in forced marriages. 5 million are in forced sexual exploitation. And 4 million suffer from state-sponsored forced labor camps.
According to this report, 71% of those in slavery are women and girls. 99% of the 5 million who are being trafficked for sexual purposes are women. 21% of the 5 million trafficked for sexual purposes are children. In other words, there are 1 million little girls on this planet who are victims of sexual trafficking.
Let me say that again. ONE MILLION GIRLS ARE VICTIMS OF SEX TRAFFICKING.
The same report revealed that modern slavery was most prevent in Africa where there were 7.6 slaves for every 1,000 people. Asia and the Pacific were second and third.
Forced marriage was most prevalent in Africa. Forced labor was most prevalent in Asia and the Pacific region.
Why does this exist? It’s a $150 billion worldwide industry. The breakdown is even more disturbing. Only one-third—$50 billion dollars—is the result of forced labor (mostly agriculture, construction, and mining). Two-thirds of that number—$100 billion dollars—is generated from sexual exploitation. Yep, sex trafficking produces $100 billion dollars a year.
With over 18 million slaves India is the worldwide leader is modern slavery, mostly debt slavery. It’s deeply entrenched in their culture. Women and girls are forced to work in red-light districts to pay off debts.
With over 3 million slaves China is next on the list. Modernization led to a boom in construction and other industries involving heavy machinery. Also, girls from Cambodia, Vietnam, and other Southeast Asian countries are trafficked into China for sexual exploitation.
Pakistan rounds out the top 3 with over 2 million slaves. Like India, debt slavery runs rampant in this wonderful country. Sickness and malnutrition often force entire poor families to work off medical debts that the rich families pay.
But what about America?
Modern Slavery in America
This is why Juneteenth is a joke. Modern slavery is actually on the rise in this country.
According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline there was a 13% increase of human trafficking cases in 2017. This is on top of the 33% increase we saw in 2016. 75% of those reported cases fell under sex trafficking, with the vast majority of those being females, ¼ of those being children between the ages of 11-20. The majority of those victims were Latin, followed by Asian, and then…White. About half were citizens, the other half foreign nationals.
Most reports of human trafficking comes from, not-surprisingly, the border states of California and Texas. The #1 risk factor for potential victims of human trafficking? Recent migration.
Even more disturbing: The average life span of a victim is reported to be 7 years. These innocents are found dead from abuse STD's, malnutrition, being beaten to death by their cartel pimp, overdose, or suicide.
But how does this happen in a free country that’s celebrating Juneteenth?
For labor trafficking, it is the false promise of a job offer. It is prompted by a hope of a high-paying job or fraud. Often, these people are illegal immigrants. When a contractor or other “benefactor” discovers this then there is the ever-present threat of “calling immigration” on that person.
What about sex trafficking? Visa abuse—that whole 90-finance nonsense—is prevalent in sex trafficking cases in this country. Traffickers and cartels from Mexico, Central American countries, and, to an extent, Asian countries, routinely use the visa practices to lure women from other countries with promises of a good life in America. Once they arrive, the cartel/trafficker forces them into a life of prostitution.
Then there are families from Central America who either give their children to coyotes or sell them outright. These children then endure an abuse we can only imagine as the United States. They come from Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador. 80% of the women and girls who cross Mexico to get to the US border are raped along the way. Coyotes often suggest for these innocents to wear contraceptives. The pretty ones are targets of the Mexican cartels who use them as a way to generate part of that $100 billion dollars I referenced before. Over 100,000 migrants have disappeared in Mexico over the course of the past several years. Startling.
But why does this happen? US policy. You give people an incentive to come they will come. In 2014 the Washington Post reported as much. Migrant children came because of the “new United States law that would allow migrants to stay.” Traffickers know this. Cartels know this. While people are stomping their feet about children being separated from their families more women and children are being exploited because we give hem a r
But continue to celebrate your Juneteenth. Continue to shove your head in the sand.