The student news site of Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School

The New Dealer

The student news site of Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School

The New Dealer

The student news site of Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School

The New Dealer

Slavery In The Modern World

Slavery+In+The+Modern+World

Slavery has a dark history, a harsh present, and an unknown future? The answer to these might be shocking for some people. The concept of slavery was known by humanity almost from the beginning of mankind, starting from ancient Mesopotamia, Sumerian, Akkadian, Assyrian and Babylonian who lived there in 4100 BC. Strong using the weak as an object to benefit those with power. Now, slavery is not socially appreciated and appropriated because of the ethics, moral, and legal obligations with a combination of other factors. To abolish slavery the U.S. ratified the 13th Amendment of the Constitution which prohibited slavery in 1865. The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, including an article stating, “No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.” Slavery is officially banned worldwide, or is it? 

Chocolate, lots of people like it, and some don’t. However, in the U.S. about 3 billion tons of chocolate are consumed annually. Nestle, Heinz, Hershey, and Mars are some of the biggest producers, but how do they manage to control that much? To get maximum profit they created a cartel that allowed them to set a fixed price for cocoa beans, then to get more profit, they lowered the market price for the cocoa even lower. For example, a farmer is forced to sell 1 kg of cocoa for $1 to the broker company, then this broker company resells it to the producer company which sells it for about $44 per kg (the movie The Dark Side of Chocolate analyzes this problem in deeper ways). These manipulations force farmers to produce more beans, and to do that, they need a greater labor force. Here is where child labor comes in. Those children (adults too) work more than 8 hours a day for 7 days a week, lacking basic needs, and their “salary” is extremely low, if there is a “salary” in the first place. But why does that continue to exist? Well, there were several incidents when those companies were targeted by mass media. In response, they said that they do not support child labor, don’t know anything about it, and that they buy resources from the broker, so they are the ones who should be questioned. This system is still working and most likely will continue to work for a long period. Now we know that slavery exists, but Chocolate is only one of many industries that use it, for example, there is also cobalt production which is used by many tech companies, clothes production, and many others. There are organizations like Anti-Slavery, ECPAT, and ATEST who are determined to change the situation. 

According to Anti-Slavery research, there are about 50 million slaves worldwide, and some of them are forced into labor, like the ones described above. There is also sex slavery, forced marriage, and more. By analyzing all of this, a reasonable question would be, why are these people being enslaved after all? Don’t they have a choice? The answer to these are a little bit complicated. Most of those, “workers,” are people who are immigrants or people who don’t have anything. When they get into the system, it is very hard to break it, because those people might be forced to work due to the abuse of power from the employer, which includes, but is not limited to, salary or documentation retention, threat of violence, or addiction to drugs. Sadly, there is almost no choice for them, as they continue to exist in this cycle of labor.

Sources: 

Anti-Slavery, BBC, Slavery statistics

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