Publication Date

Summer 2009

Document Type



Other Social and Behavioral Sciences | Political Science | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration


For a direct link to the paper:


Since slavery has been made illegal in nearly all countries in the world, and as modern advances allow more ttention to be focused on other social improvements to make the lives of people better, there is a dark and hidden underbelly around the world that most people do not want to hear about. The fact is, that while the battle over the legal status of slavery has been won, as have many of the cultural battles regarding the wrongfulness of enslaving another human being, more slaves exist in the world at this moment than were trafficked in over 350 years of trans-Atlantic slavery combined—by almost a 2-to-1 margin. The author seeks to refocus the 21st century reader on what Wilberforce called the ―wickedness‖ that is the slave trade by examining the historical challenges and successes in abolition and then discussing the modern manifestation of slavery and the forms in which it emerges. The author then discusses modern legal attempts to attack the underground markets on both the supply and demand side, both of which extend throughout the globe, complicating this issue immensely. The author tells several true stories of trafficking victims‘ experiences to give a human face to the injustices that are perpetrated and to give the reader a sense of the diversity of victim types, methods of enslavement, and motivations of slaveholders. The author concludes that given the modern complexities and the already illegal nature of slavery and trafficking in persons a multi-faceted response is needed at the international, national, NGO, and personal levels to detect slavery, rescue the weak from injustice and oppression, prosecute offenders, and rehabilitate and provide stability for victims.