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C h a p t e r 11 The Anti-slavery Movement: Making Rights Reality Kevin Bales and Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick Introduction How we end slavery is the 27-million-person question. What does the rethinking of this volume tell us about how to end slavery and trafficking—and how can we integrate this with the knowledge and practice of the anti-slavery movement in the field? In this volume, the contributions rethinking the roots of trafficking suggest we must address interlocking dynamics of domination: gender, consciousness, political economy, and international relations. When we look at what supports slavery around the world, things seem a little discouraging. Apparently all we have to do is end world poverty, stop all corruption, keep people from being greedy, slow the population explosion, end the environmental destruction and armed conflicts that impoverish countries , convince the big lenders to cancel international debts, and get governments to keep the promises they make every time they pass a law. How tough is that? Yet the response from the field is surprisingly hopeful: if ever there was a tipping point when slavery can be brought to a full stop, it is now. Many of the world’s trends are moving in the right direction for the eradication of slavery, but we are going to have to provide the brainpower and the economic muscle to make it happen. International debts are being canceled . The population explosion is slowing down. The struggle against environmental destruction has never been so fierce. The number of people living in extreme poverty has actually fallen from 1.5 billion in 1981 to 1.1 billion in 196 Kevin Bales and Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick 2001 even as the world population increased, and there are clear plans to significantly reduce extreme poverty by 2015 and then end it by 2025. There are a number of ways to get governments to enforce their own laws; some involve carrots, and some involve sticks. Stopping any armed conflict is going to be tough, but if you reduce poverty and corruption, and increase good governance, the likelihood of conflict also falls. The positive trends in our economies and cultures, the growing acceptance of human rights, and the relatively small part that slavery plays in our world economy mean slavery is ripe for extinction. Slavery is a big problem, but not as big or as intractable as global warming or global poverty—27 million is a lot of people, but they are just .0043 of the world population. Slavemade products and services are worth about $13 billion a year, exactly what Americans spent on Valentine’s Day in 2010. The UN estimates that human traffickers make $32 billion in profits annually—but these sums are tiny drops in the ocean of the world economy. No industry or big corporation, no political party, no state or country or culture is dependent on slavery. No government or business would collapse if slavery ended today. The cost of ending slavery is just a fraction of the amount that freed slaves will pump into the global economy. For those of us in the world’s richer countries, the cost of ending slavery would be so small we would never notice it. The things we have to do to end slavery in America are somewhat different from what we have to do in India or Ghana or Thailand. Like a lot of crimes, slavery takes on the coloration and culture of its surroundings. Slavery is tangled up in both local and global economies. Ending slavery means attacking it at all levels: local police, the United Nations, industries, churches, and governments will all have to play a part. The chapters in this volume that analyze response suggest that there are systematic flaws in the current U.S. approach, other Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries that host migration like Greece, and even many UN operations . But even here, the wider experience of the anti-slavery movements suggests new possibilities for more effective response from above and below— and a way to implement van den Anker’s call for cosmopolitan rights. Civil Society: Mobilization at the Grass Roots It is easy to think about slavery in a simple way, as evil slaveholders and innocent slaves, a crime that is truly black and white in its moral contrast. The Anti-slavery Movement 197 Often, from this viewpoint, slaves are victims who need to be rescued— helpless, dependent, a little pathetic, and, we expect, grateful for a chance...


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