Modern Day Slavery

January 23, 2011
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<i>"Willingly, no one chooses the yoke of slavery."</i> -Aeschylus

Some would say modern day slavery is parents forcing their children into chores. I'm not talking about the normal pick-up-your-clothes or clean-your-room chores. I'm talking about the help-re-tile-the-roof and clean-the-basement-even-though-you-haven't-gone-down-there-in-months ones. Whether or not those who say so are right is not of my concern.

That is to say, I can't touch that.

Most people would talk about the sweatshops in China and other places of that sort and about the fact that those 200 dollar shoes that you bought last Christmas with your babysitting money could be made by kids making maybe $2 a week. But, as you can see, I'm not most people. I don't know much about sweatshops. I have a general idea but that's all it is, a general idea. The impossible has happened: I'm afraid of information. I'm afraid that I won't be able to go to the mall and not break down crying once I see a box of Nike gym shoes. Crying is not something that I enjoy doing and I certainly don't enjoy doing it in public.

I don't know much about other countries. I don't take A.P. Human Geography like the crazy ones and we're still just learning about the long ago history of Europe in World Studies. I've stopped watching the news due to the fact I have much better (and more pleasant) things to be than hearing the same depressing stuff over and over. I know practically nothing about other countries. I don't think that we can help unless we help ourselves first. Would it be right for me to help my friend study for her French quiz while I'm failing Spanish? I don't so. As selfish as it sounds, in some cases, you have to put yourself first. And this is one of those cases.

There's not just life overseas. There's life here too. Coincidentally, modern slavery is not just the people across the oceans. There's some America too, just better disguised.

I'm talking about those working for low wages and doing everything under the sun and the moon. What else should you consider it? When obviously being stretched farther than you should be (than you job details) and earning less than you should be, isn't it the same as the sweat shops? In this case, it could be worse. America is supposed to be setting an example. How can you save those across seas when the people are being pushed farther than the land goes? What I mean by that is that people are being pushed off farther than the dock extends, being pushed into the water.

And, as sad as it is, most can't swim.

People have too many hats on one head.  Human heads aren't big enough for that, regardless of how big the egos are. We are not silly putty, nor Play-Doh (If anything, we are 999-piece puzzles: impossible to put together and your bound to lose a few which means you'll never be again once you leave that safe box. Heck, you might not even come with all of the pieces). You cannot pull us apart and expect us to go back just like before. We are not a product built by the wonders of engineering.  We are <u>people</u>. The stress is making more and more become obese (from comfort eating and trying to feed yourself on less money than you should make) and die quicker (once again from the obesity and the fact that stress in general takes years off of your life).

That being said, the true question lies in whether or not that counts as slavery. Most would think a slave is someone who works for someone else for nothing and who are held against their will. defines a slave as the following:

<b>1.</b> a person who is the property of and wholly subjected to another; a bond servant and <b>2.</b> a person entirely under the domination of some influence or person.

So, it seems to me that a slave is someone trapped with someone else in power. Sounds familiar? Even though you're getting paid, if you are stuck under terrible conditions working for the looming powers that be and hold you against your true will and wish, you <s>are</s> may be a slave.

Another example, a much more morbid one, is regular slavery. No one is safe from it. Men, women, and children are being sold all over and all over the world. This is outright underground slavery. Human trafficking is the third most profitable crime, after drug and arms dealing. And once you're sold, you're gone. You will never be the same. Things will happen that you can't undo, that will scar you for the rest your life. These scars will not even hold a match to the scar you got from falling out of that tree that your mom told you not to climb when you were 7 but you did anyway. This one is emotional, deep and growing.

The worst part? It'll never fade.

Human trafficking is good ol'-fashioned slavery, just color blind (an improvement that I want to be proud of and I don't at the same time. It's progress. We're coming to the point that the races are so equal that everyone is fair game. But how can one accept the conditions it's under?). Everyone is sold. Everyone is taken against their will. It's rare when someone comes out alive and even if you do, you're changed forever. That is slavery and it's happening today. Right now, some woman in Nevada is being sold to a pimp while a young girl in Wisconsin is being sold to a creepy old man. All while you're watching an episode similar on CSI: Miami on the TV.

The woman would have been taken while on her morning job. She would have been called "feisty" and "a fighter with a heck-of-a-lot of fight." She will go on to prove that, fighting at every chance, amusing her captors. She would be held down and injected, the drugs racing through her system. She would try to fight again and again, a much harder task this time. She will become sedated and quiet while she constantly fights for her consciousness. She will subsequently lose that fight, and she will wake up randomly underneath different men, and, after moments that will feel like many eternities, she will pass right back out. She will be caught in that vicious cycle till one of the following happens: she is rescued, deemed unnecessary and thrown out like old mop water, or dead.

The young girl will fare no better. She would have been taken while walking home from school, distracted with thoughts of biology and geometry and whether or not she should say something to Jessica, who keeps insulting her to her face, regardless of being her "best friend." She will be taken to the old man's house and kept locked in the basement. She'd be too afraid to fight back, an innocent soul who wouldn't even know the first thing about fighting. She would just be asking to be let go and hopelessly bargaining with the promise of never telling another living soul. He would laugh at her requests. I suppose the all do. What evil person wouldn't laugh at the naive girl who thinks she'll ever be able to escape. He will then assume control over her. A teenage girl against a grown man is not a fair fight. he will dominate her, and she will lose that brilliantly bright and bubbly personality of hers. her hair will lack luster, her skin will pale, and her eyes and face will appear to have sunken in.

Slavery's not just over seas. It's in our backyards and in our alleys. It's in our offices. It's down our streets. It doesn't only come out at and may not be obvious to see in the light of day. I don't care what Lincoln has done, what the laws say. It may be outlawed on paper and in the history books, but it's still happening here, here in the land of the supposed "free." It has adapted to the times and moved into and under the official name of "business." It has moved online and towards the safety of fake names and accounts and rerouted IP addresses. The government may have gotten smarter, but so have the white (and blue collar) criminals.

It's been 148 years (and 43 days) since former President Lincoln announced the Emancipation Proclamation, about 145 since Congress made it official with the 13th amendment, and we still have slavery. Go figure.

I guess I wrote a lot about this topic is because it hits me hard. I'm African-American. Somewhere along the lines, my ancestors were sold and brought to America to work for the settlers. Yeah, that was fixed but it's back (did it ever leave?) and I feel trapped. I just can't win. And now, it's not because I'm black. It's because I'm young or a girl or attractive or just in the wrong place at the wrong time while the wrong person wrong idea about me. How is that fair? I know that life isn't fair it's just that, it's just that... How is this right? Is it right that I can't escape? Or does this not come down to the matter of right and wrong.

Lock up the children, the pets, and yourself, America. No one's safe from the terror. Not even a 14-year old Freshman who likes yellow and writing. I mean, come on! I am not for sale. I do not have a price tag on my foot or a bar code underneath my jeans. Don't even searching for one, I've just checked for you.

Of course, whenever you don't come with a price, they'll just put one on you. They'll pencil it in on your heart, a pleasant thought indeed.

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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

Ella said...
Jan. 24 at 3:55 am
It is gud Bt its not like a speech and we cannot delivered it
Ella said...
Jan. 24 at 3:55 am
It is gud Bt its not like a speech and we cannot delivered it
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