Is Slavery Legal Anywhere?

Is Slavery Legal Anywhere

It is estimated that there are almost fifty million slaves worldwide which are a lot more than what is obtainable at any point in history. One of the major contributing factors to this issue is the refugee crisis that pervades the world as we know it today. Slavery comes in several forms with human trafficking and sexual labor taking the lead in this regard. With this high rate of slavery, one begins to wonder if slavery is still legal in some parts of the world. There have been different laws aimed at abolishing the slave trade in the world for several decades but it seems like the monster isn’t slowing down. So, is slavery legal anywhere? We will answer this and a few other pressing issues in this piece.

Is slavery legal anywhere?

Slavery is not legal anywhere in the world, but there are certain places in the world where it is still being practiced. In the United Arab Emirates, many of the immigrants coming from other parts of the world are usually enslaved. What this means is that their passports are seized by their employers and they are then made to work in dehumanizing conditions. The pay is also not encouraging and as such without passports and money, they are forced to continue working as slaves.  Also, women are sexually exploited and beaten. Also, in a large number of countries in Africa, there still exists slavery as some of them are inherited from generation to generation. One country that has the highest number of slave ratios is Mauritania even though slavery was banned there in 1981. 

Also, the Tuareg have not stopped the trade of slavery they started back in the first century and slaves even have a price tag. India is another place where slavery is widespread with the record number of slaves in the country. There are countries where parents give their children off as slaves to wealthy people in return for monthly stipends. Most of these people are children who should be in school.

Which Countries In The World Have The Highest Population Of Slaves?

Currently, countries hold up to 60 percent of the total slavery population are held up in five different countries. The countries include India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, China, and Uzbekistan.

1. Pakistan

The slavery here is such that it covers over two million of its total population which thus represents about 1.1% of the total population. The major form of slavery includes the bonded labor provided for certain industries such as block industries. For instance, there are over 20,000 brick kilns spread in the rural parts of Pakistan. They often take advantage of the desperate and illiterate population who would do anything to get out of debt. When such laborers die, their offspring are forced into becoming slaves to pay off the debt.

2. India

Currently, in India, there are an estimated 18,354,700 slaves and the rate of slavery is put at about 1.4% of the total population. The major forms of slavery here include domestic work, agriculture, bonded labor, and sex work. The situation is made even worse by the high rates of poverty and unemployment in the country.

3. Bangladesh

In Bangladesh, there are an estimated 1.5 million slaves which are almost 1 percent of the total population of the country. Here, the women are forced into marriage and the men are forced into labor. More often than not, the men are captured, beaten, drugged and then enslaved. After this, they are sold off to serve as temporary workers. In the case of forced marriage, it often involves a life of poverty and abuse.

4. Uzbekistan

Almost 4% of the total population of this country is slaves which amounts to about 11.2 million people. The major form of slavery here includes forced labor. During this season, the government mandates tens of thousands of people to go into the cotton fields.

5. China

There are an estimated 3.4 million slaves in China which represents about 0.25% of the total population. The major forms of slavery here include forced labor and sexual slavery. The now-defunct one child per family policy ended up creating a gender imbalance which meant there was a need to import brides from other countries to fill the gap created.  When such women find their way into the country, they tend to live low standard lives because they often do not have a lot of legal rights. The worst part of it all is that some parts of society support this system.

A Look At Modern-Day Slavery

Slavery has been in existence for several thousand years before now. However certain socio-economic factors have acted as catalysts that have further pushed it into prominence over the years. Here is a breakdown of some of the contributing factors:

1. Corruption

Corruption on a global scale has further aided the spread of slavery in the world and even helps ensure that it does not go punished. Several law enforcement officials do not even know that it is illegal for someone to be enslaved to work. Several places see people in slavery not having any form of `police protection from such traffickers.

2. Migration

Quite several people move from rural areas that are impoverished to the cities and some move from poor countries to richer ones all in search of greener pastures. Many of such traffickers trick the innocent and gullible job seekers using legitimate opportunities. But when they get to the destination, they soon realize that it was all a trick.

Modern slaves are categorized as disposable and cheap. The slaves of today are quite cheaper than what was obtainable in times past.  For instance, back in the mid-1800s, the average slave cost about $40,000. But these days, the average slave costs a mare $90. Also, slaves of this generation are not considered to be an investment worth protecting and maintaining. For instance, back in the 19th century, it was quite difficult to capture slaves and bring them to America hence they’re being valued. But these days, when a slave becomes sick they are often abandoned.

The Forms Of Slavery

Among Americans, the most common form of slavery known is Chattel Slavery. In this system, people are viewed as a legal property and can be bought, owned and sold and it was used between the 16th and 18th centuries. But in this dispensation, it is agreed that there are up to five major forms of slavery. But one thing that is fundamental about these forms of slavery is that each of them forces people to work against their will and they are unable to leave the moment they have begun.

Here is a breakdown of the various forms of slavery in the world as we know it today:

  1. Debt labor: This type of labor simply describes a situation where a person is made to work to pay a debt. It is often quite different from the other forms of slavery because more often than not, both parties enter into some sort of agreement. But sometimes, such contracts may be of greater benefit to the employer than the employee.
  2. Forced labor: this simply talks about all the types of forced work that a person provides against his or her desire. Such people are often treated as properties that can be exploited commercially.
  3. Child slavery: This simply talks about the type of labor that is obtained from people who are below the age of 18 via coercion, force or even deception. Children may become victims of enslavement via armies, prostitution, debt bondage, and other types of work. There is forced child labor in almost all parts of the world today.
  4. Sex slaves: This deals with men, women or children who have been exploited in the sex industry. These industries include strip clubs, erotic entertainment, prostitution, pornography and escort services. In this transaction, money may or may not be involved. In some other instances, things such as drugs, food or shelter may be exchanged. The consent of the person initially is always irrelevant especially if the person is subjected to physical or psychological force.
  5. Domestic servants: this type of servant is made to work in some rather hidden places such as private houses. They become slaves the moment their employers apply the use of force, or coercion to make them do work. More often than not, such employers take steps to ensure that the ability of such slaves to escape the situation is practically impossible.

When Did Slavery Start In America?

Slavery began in America during the 17th and 18th centuries when people were taken from Africa and made to work on Farms in America. Slavery began in America in 1619 when the first set of 20 American slaves was brought to Jamestown Virginia. The slaves were captured from the slave ship named Jao Bautista.


One would have thought that with the abolishment of the slave trade decades ago, it shouldn’t be an issue that should resurface. But the sad reality is that instead of slavery fading off, it only assumed a modified dimension and has even spread to new regions and continents. Although there may not be any country that legally endorses slavery, it is obvious that there are countries that indirectly encourage it.

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