News: Current price of a slave? $50 and a plane ticket to Haiti.


With $50 and a plane ticket to Haiti, one can buy a slave.
That is one of the findings of Benjamin Skinner while researching his book, "A Crime So Monstrous: Face-to-Face with Modern-Day Slavery."

As the definition of "slave" is still "a human being forced to work under threat of violence for no pay beyond sustenance", Skinner concluded there are more slaves on the planet today than at any time in human history... Even though slavery is now illegal throughout the world.

There is one difference, though: slaves got cheaper. After adjusting for inflation, Skinner found that, "A slave sold in 1850, would now roughly cost $30,000 to $40,000. Today you can go to Haiti and buy a 9-year-old girl as a sex slave for $50. The devaluation of human life is incredibly pronounced."

In the fall of 2005, he visited Haiti, which has one of the highest concentrations of slaves anywhere in the world. "I pulled up in a car and rolled down the window," he recalls. "Someone said, 'Do you want to get a person?'".
Though the country was in a time of political chaos, the street where he met the trafficker was clean and relatively quiet. A tape of the conversation reveals a calm, concise transaction. He was initially told he could get a 9-year-old sex and house slave for $100, but he bargained it down to $50.
"The thing that struck me more than anything afterwards was how incredibly banal the transaction was. As if I was negotiating on the street for a used stereo." (Full)

Update: This post was picked up in different forums. People ask 'how can we help?'.. I would suggest to check out Plan International, who allows you to 'virtually' adopt a child from a developing country.
Plan International has a program in Haiti.. Try it.. Our family "adopted" a child from the rural areas in Pakistan years ago. For a modest monthly amount, we secure the child's education, clothing and basic well being.. Every year, we get a letter from her, with pictures and testimonies...
Education and basic care keeps children out of harms way, and brings them a future.

Update: See also this article on modern day slavery.

More recommended books from The Road.

Pictures courtesy In These Times and Source: The Road Daily


Voegtli 24 March, 2008 05:56  

Not only astounding but very shocking that such things still exist. And the bad part is that we "educated" people take part in this. But perhaps our excuse is that we are lead by "decent" people like the governor of New York. Decent people we are looking up to.

Andrew Holden 25 March, 2008 00:14  

There must be a small typo in your quote, because I am sure you meant to say: "A slave sold in 1850, would **NOW** roughly cost $30,000 to $40,000".

Peter 25 March, 2008 00:53  

Thanks Andrew! That was indeed a typo, and is now corrected!


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