Slavery: Yesterday and Today

The institution of slavery was never a uniquely American thing. It’s a human thing. It’s a thing that each generation of humans must grapple with, but just as most Americans didn’t own slaves or even know slaves most of us in modern times fail to see the slavery all around us.

Some humans of every stripe like power. They go to the dark side. Evil exists in the hearts of men. All men. We choose. Daily.

Cotton was once king and demanded laborers in the field. Today sex and sneakers drive trade in humans. Let’s compare, shall we?

1. An estimated 29.8 million people live in modern slavery today

2. Slavery generates $32 billion for traffickers globally each year

3. Approximately 78% of victims are enslaved for labor, 22% of victims are enslaved for sex

4. 55% of slavery victims are women and girls

5. 26% of slaves today are children under the age of 18

6. An estimated 60,000 victims of slavery are enslaved in the United States.

  •  The 2013 Walk Free Global Slavery Index places U.S. at 134th out of 162 countries
  •  Rankings were determined based on three factors: a country’s estimated slavery prevalence by population, a measure of child marriage and a measure of human trafficking.

7. Iceland, Ireland and the United Kingdom tied for the ranking of 160 in the 2013 Global Slavery Index. However, even with the top ranking in the survey, these countries are not free from slavery. In the United Kingdom alone, there are an estimated 4,200 to 4,600 victims of slavery.

8. The country with the highest percentage of of its population in slavery is Mauritania with approximately 4% of the total population enslaved. This amounts to roughly 140,000 to 160,000 people enslaved — Mauritania’s total population is only a mere 3.8 million.

9. India has the largest number of slavery victims at a horrifying 14 million.

10. The top 10 per-capita slavery hot spots are:

Mauritania
Haiti
Pakistan
India
Nepal
Moldova
Benin
Cote d’Ivoire
Gambia
Gabon

***BORGEN PROJECT.ORG

END SLAVERY BY 2020

Modern_day_slavery

The face of modern slavery courtesy of Atlanta Black Star

 

OLD SLAVERY IN THE US:

“The level of slave exports grew from about 36,000 a year during the early 18th century to almost 80,000 a year during the 1780s.

The Angolan region of west-central Africa made up slightly more than half of all Africans sent to the Americas and a quarter of imports to British North America.

Approximately 11,863,000 Africans were shipped across the Atlantic, with a death rate during the Middle Passage reducing this number by 10-20 percent. As a result between 9.6 and 10.8 million Africans arrived in the Americas.

About 500,000 Africans were imported into what is now the U.S. between 1619 and 1807–or about 6 percent of all Africans forcibly imported into the Americas. About 70 percent arrived directly from Africa.

Well over 90 percent of African slaves were imported into the Caribbean and South America. Only about 6 percent of imports went directly to British North America. Yet by 1825, the U.S. had a quarter of blacks in the New World.

The majority of African slaves were brought to British North America between 1720 and 1780. (Average date of arrival for whites is 1890)

Comparisons

American plantations were dwarfed by those in the West Indies. About a quarter of U.S. slaves lived on farms with 15 or fewer slaves. In 1850, just 125 plantations had over 250 slaves.

In the Caribbean, Dutch Guiana and Brazil, the slave death rate was so high and the birth rate so low that they could not sustain their population without importations from Africa. Rates of natural decrease ran as high as 5 percent a year. While the death rate of U.S. slaves was about the same as that of Jamaican slaves, the fertility rate was more than 80 percent higher.

US slaves were further removed from Africa than those in the Caribbean. In the 19th century, the majority of slaves in the British Caribbean and Brazil were born in Africa. In contrast, by 1850, most U.S. slaves were third-, fourth-, or fifth generation Americans.

Demography

Slavery in the US was distinctive in the near balance of the sexes and the ability of the slave population to increase its numbers by natural reproduction.

Unlike any other slave society, the U.S. had a high and sustained natural increase in the slave population for a more than a century and a half.

In 1860, 89 percent of the nation’s African Americans were slaves; blacks formed 13 percent of the country’s population and 33 percent of the South’s population.

In 1860, less than 10 percent of the slave population was over 50 and only 3.5 percent was over 60.

The average age of first birth for slave women was around 20. Child spacing averaged about 2 years.

The average number of children born to a slave woman was 9.2–twice as many in the West Indies.

Most slaves lived in nuclear households consisting of two parents and children: 64 percent nuclear; 21 percent single parents; 15 percent non-family.

Mother-headed families were 50 percent more frequent on plantations with 15 or fewer slaves than on large ones. Smaller units also had a disproportionately large share of families in which the father and mother lived on different plantations for most of the week.

Average number of persons per household was 6.

Average age of women at birth of their first child was about 21.

Few slaves lived into old age. Between 1830 and 1860, only 10 percent of slaves in North America were over 50 years old.”

READ THE REST OF THE STORY HERE

WPA PHOTOGRAPHS OF EX-SLAVES