Slavery is an ancient trade. One of the first documented slaves in history was Joseph – we first hear about him in the Old Testament book of Genesis when his brothers sold him. In more recent centuries we tend to relate the term slavery to the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
2013 marked the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. The proclamation freed slaves in 10 states. A few years later in 1865, slavery was officially made illegal in the U.S.A. But making something illegal doesn’t mean it ceases to exist.
Slavery continues to be a reality in the U.S.A. today. It’s a crime hidden in plain sight and it’s growing. Slavery may look differently over time, but it’s just as inhumane.
The main forms of slavery that exist in the U.S.A., including Michigan, are sex slavery and labor trafficking.
Often we hear the term “human trafficking” used to refer to this crime. But we prefer to call it what it is: slavery. The term slavery is most widely used when referring to any form of modern slavery, bondage, or human trafficking. Slavery means that a person is being held against his or her will and controlled physically or psychologically by violence or its threat for the purpose of appropriating their labor. Forms of slavery include, sex slavery, sexual exploitation, forced labor, bonded labor, child soldiers, and organ trafficking.
UNODC Definition of Trafficking in Persons