by Kevin Bales
Kevin Bales, a co-founder of Free the Slaves in Washington, DC and Professor of Contemporary Slavery at the Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation at the University of Hull (Yorkshire, England), is a specialist on the issue of slavery in the modern world, and “Disposable People” is his plea to the world.
“Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy” examines what present day slavery in the 20th (and 21st) century looks like. It does so via five case histories oriented around the persistence of slavery in Thailand, Mauritania, Brazil, Pakistan and India. Each of the stories illustrates a new type of trafficking and slavery in the world. The chapter on Thailand focused on Siri, a sex-trafficked child who is chosen by men because she looks like a much younger child, and in India a farmer in debt bondage is forced to work the fields to pay off an ever increasing and never disappearing debt.
We would recommend reading one of the newer editions, as Bale’s team strives to update their book every few years with new information. The most up-to-date version of this book is a good place to begin introducing oneself to the realities of worldwide modern slavery. While situations may have changed in any one of the countries he exposes, there is an understanding of what slavery looks like now in relation to a couple hundred years ago or even a couple thousand years ago.