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Kevin Bales's disturbing investigation of conditions in Thailand, Mauritania, Brazil, Pakistan, India, and parts of America and Europe reveals the nature of the new slavery and how it has adapted to the global economy. But one thing remains the same: violence. People are still taken by force and held against their wills through fear. Bales interviews actual slaves, slaveholders, and public officials to reveal the lives of slaves, including enslaved brickmakers in Pakistan, sex slaves in Thailand, and domestic slaves in France. Throughout he uncovers the economic and social forces that sustain slavery, from the corruption of local governments to the complicity of multinational corporations. He pinpoints just who benefits from the incredible profits of the new slavery. And he shows how the lives of these slaves are bound by our own through our purchase of slave-made products or mutual funds that invest in companies using slave labor. In his conclusion, Bales offers suggestions for how individuals and governments can combat slavery and describes successful antislavery actions by international and local organizations.
Because of globalization, Bales argues, every consumer is linked to slavery and the final chapter explains practical ways of helping to bring it to an end. Begin by buying this book-all proceeds go to the international fight against slavery.
Times Literary Supplement
A book replete with both fascinating reportage and acute analysis.
Times Higher Education Supplement
At its best an empirically informed general discussion of slavery in the modern world economy.
Bales doesn't hesitate to use Disposable People to make an overt, immediate call for action. "If there is one fundamental violation of our humanity we cannot allow, it is slavery," he concludes. "What good is our economic and political power if we can't use it to free slaves? If we can't choose to stop slavery, how can we say that we are free?"
Christian Science Monitor
A gripping account if the major forms slavery takes around the world today, introducing enslaved people, their families, and entire social strata deprived of the most basic rights...Avoiding moralism and sensationalism alike, it discloses the daily soul-destroyingbrutality of slavery on out planet today.
A numbing indictment of our blindness to the new forms of slavery engendered by the global economy. Bales, a leading authority on this subject (Univ. of Surrey, England), defines slavery, quite specifically, as the "total control of one person by another for the purpose of economic exploitation." The control is facilitated by violence and the foreclosure of personal freedom. He estimates, given this definition, that there are approximately 27 million slaves currently held in the world economy. One of the more virulent characteristics of this new slavery is a tendency to view slaves as relatively short-term investments—replacement is often cheaper than maintenance, thus the slaveholders will extract as much labor as possible, even if it means their victims will only last for several years of bondage. New slaveholders in the world economy also frequently insulate themselves against prosecution by maintaining fraudulent work contracts. Bales opens his essay with the story of Seba, a woman brought to France from Mali to serve as a house slave, but the book focuses primarily upon slavery in the third world. He describes the plight of child prostitutes in Thailand, slaves born under control of the White Moors in Mauritania, charcoal workers in Brazil, brick kiln operators in Pakistan, bonded farmers in India, and prisoners of war in Burma. He provides both personal accounts from the lives of individual slaves, and an overview of legal, political, and historical factors which influence the particular manifestation of slavery in a given locality. Bales makes a convincing argument that the new forms of slavery are directly related to trends in the global economy, and that opposition toslavery must also take the form of an international, global awareness of the situation. A powerful exposé of the dirty little secret of the global village. (12 b&w photos, not seen)
Kevin Bales is Director of Free the Slaves, Washington DC, (www.freetheslaves.net) and Professor of Sociology at the University of Surrey Roehampton, England. He is the world's leading expert on contemporary slavery.