In the end of the second part of the slavery series we argue that if ending slavery is at all a test case for ending animal exploitation, then since slavery didn’t ever end, what activists should draw from the fight against slavery isn’t inspiration, but disillusion, a wakeup call to look for other ways to end animal suffering.
What makes things even worse is not only that slavery was never ended, 150 years after the formal passage of the 13th Amendment and 67 years after Article 4 of the U.N.’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights banned slavery and the slave trade worldwide, there are more slaves today than at any time in human history.
Since slavery is illegal it is hard to find an accurate number of slaves. The formal estimations are of between 21 and 38 million slaves. That is by a very tolerant definition of the term which mainly refers to what is called Trafficking – the transport or trade of people from one area to another and into conditions of slavery. Considering the appalling working conditions in sweatshops and at least some forms of child labor, as we think is must, then the estimations are of hundreds of millions of people. That’s why we’ll discuss sweatshops separately in the next post and focus here on the exploitation forms which are formally considered as slavery. Continue reading