Category Archives: poverty

A Need To Properly Define “Modern Day Slavery”

I think the title of the following video is inaccurate.

What I see in this video is exploitation, but I don’t see slavery. And I think to fight modern slavery properly, we need to make sure we define it properly. Kevin Bales, in his TED presentation on how to combat modern slavery, went out of his way to make certain his audience understood what he meant by “slave.” He needed to be specific to frame the conversation properly. And his definition of a slave and mine are the same: a slave is someone who is forced to work, under the threat of physical harm, without pay.

What this video is documenting is important. It’s just not slavery. Perhaps that’s why “modern day slavery” is in quotes. I don’t know. What I do know is that the tactics required to fight modern slavery are different than those required to fight the exploitation of the poor and disenfranchised. Both camps will be better served if we focus properly.

What are your thoughts?

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Child Slavery In The Wake Of The Earthquake In Haiti

I was sent a link to this video, Helping Haiti’s Child Slaves, this morning via email. I’ve seen it before and even linked to a longer version of it in A Capacity For Cruelty Is Never Justified.

But in light of the recent earthquake in Haiti, it seems more urgent than ever that the world be aware of the plight of  a segment of the restavec (French: rester avec – one who stays with) population in Haiti. What is evident from the video clip is that, in today’s world, some restavec are indeed treated as slaves. But what is also evident is the complexity of the problem in light of the cultural differences that exist between countries. And it’s not just between the USA and Haiti. My wife just returned from Kenya with Mothers Fighting For Others, where the people she met could not believe we DIDN’T beat our children with a cane. And while I agree with the conclusion that “a capacity for cruelty is never justified,” it is also true that “child labor is an unfortunate consequence of poverty and it’s attending miseries.” It’s a complex issue.

Not All Child Labor Should Be Considered Child Slavery

If we’re to address the issues that surround child slavery in developing countries like Haiti, we must not look at them through the myopic lens of our own culture. I’m neither an economist or a sociologist, but, as I read more and more, it is painfully clear to me that sometimes what I would love to be a “black and white” issue is incredibly gray. There are no simple answers. My perspective is one of a myriad. So, I encourage you to read this post by The Haitian Blogger for a different viewpoint. Warning, it’s a long post. Clear out some time to digest it properly.

One thing I know for sure – the earthquake in Haiti is not going to make the task any simpler.

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India Turns A Blind Eye To Child Labor Violations (Blog Action Day)

The numbers reported in this article from ThaIndian.com are ludicrous. The headline from the story, “only 8,000 child labur violations” is sad. If you’ve read any of Shelley Seale’s posts here, you’ll quickly realize the problem has a much larger footprint than these reported numbers would have people believe. The quote below is disheartening.

At this rate, child labour will never be eliminated from our society. It is time we start treating it as a serious crime – Umesh Gupta, via In 19 months, only 8,000 child labour violations detected in India.

Today is Blog Action Day. If it’s not painfully evident from what has been written here at Stop Child Slavery before, I’ll state it explicitly: at the root of these offenses is extreme poverty and corporate willingness to exploit those in its grasp. It makes dealing with the horror of child slavery extremely difficult, but today it give us a focus for Blog Action Day.

Often I get emails asking this question, “What can I do to help?” Today, you can go visit the Blog Action Day website. Read. Learn. Donate.

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