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?


  1. I agree with your statement above. In order to fight something as horrible as “slavery” it is important that it is properly defined and understood.

    While the video above is important to understanding exploitation (which is certainly an issue that also needs to be addressed) we need to figure out better ways to make the issue of modern child slavery known.

    It is an issue that slips under the radar in stealth. The good news is that there are student organization on campuses in the United States who are working to raise awareness about this issue but more needs to be done.

    I propose putting out a variety of Public Service announcements on television to show people what is going on. Viral YouTube videos help but putting it more in the face would certainly help more.

    There is an AIDS Walk every year, why not start a walk for these children and start an international movement? I’m not sure if something like that is already in place but if not it needs to get done soon. The U.S. is not exempt to these issues and the public needs to be made more aware.

    Talking about it in the blogosphere helps but we need to get out there and educate people.

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