The Global Slave

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Former slave, historical figure and Long Island native Pyrrhus Concer’s tombstone reads: “Though born a slave, he possessed those virtues, without which, kings are but slaves”. It wasn’t until writing this quote that I finally began to grasp its true meaning and if I was to take my poetic license in interpreting this wondrous proclamation, I would say that only an individual’s virtues can separate him from the same conditions that can plague his counterpart. Such is the case of slave versus slave owner; both are bounded by the “control” associated with human harvesting, as it acts as a binding agent in cementing the dynamic dichotomy between the powerful and the submissive. The foundation of the “control” as it relates to human enslavement, is usually rooted in the lust for money and power. In fact the United States Civil War was forged out philosophical indifferences and the jockeying for power as it related to the free slave labored south versus the paid waged laborers of the north; in their exploratory race towards the development of America’s western territories. The enslavement of human beings as if they are mere cattle, is a barbaric premise at best. One would conclude that these practices or tactics, were instigated in a time more demonized than humanized. However, we would learn that the time capsuling door of enslavement was never closed nor was it buried for historical documentation. In fact, slavery is very much alive and is a provocative subject in our modern day era. Globally there is an estimated 30 million slaves on the planet today, with 14 million residing in India alone, according to the Global Slave Index. China is second on that list with 2.9 million, followed by Pakistan with 2.1 million. There are ten countries that account for three quarters of the slave population and they the following: Nigeria, Ethiopia, Russia, Thailand, Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar and Bangladesh. What should also be noted is the continuous, morphing definition of the term slavery. For centuries we have thought of slavery in the terms of humans being owned and utilized for free labor, however, slavery has expanded its tentacles into the realms of forced child marriages, female trafficking for prostitution and the use of migrant workers in exploitative working conditions. If not for Australian billionaire, philanthropist Andrew Forrest’s plight to stamp out global slavery, the data compiled in the Global Slave Index would not exist and the world’s leaders would be less aware of this demonic plague that continues its infestation of the impoverished and the disenfranchised. It is said that history often repeats itself, but in the case of slavery, it has never left the world in its entirety. I guess it’s not far fetched to assume that as long as greed exists, there will always be those who exploit others for financial or political gain. But the dehumanization of people in that process violates the more than laws of civil liberties, it also violates the laws of humanity. Where are our “virtues” when a valuable life is bartered for material assets? Maybe those virtues are lost in translation as most of those 30 million do not share our same dialect. Either way, awareness helps to conjure change and perhaps this blog starts it. We are said to be the leaders of the free world, too bad a portion of that world still remains chained. #shackled

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