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What Do You Know About Modern Human Slavery?

Written by Marsha Rakestraw | Published on October 24, 2015 | Filed under Humane Connection
The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Humane Education website at http://humaneeducation.org/blog/2015/10/24/modern-human-slavery/
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girl tending garden

Image via Dining for Women/Flickr.

by Marsha Rakestraw

In our online courses we present participants with a sampling of resources highlighting just a few of the global ethical issues humane educators teach (and learn) about. One of the issues people are most surprised about is modern day human slavery.

While more of us are learning about this current-day scourge, many of us are still unaware of its immensity (there are estimates of 27 million human slaves worldwide), and some of us are unaware that it exists at all.

The short film (12 min) “Slavery 101,” produced by Free the Slaves, provides a basic overview of human slavery around the world. It features interviews with experts in the fields, as well as those who have been enslaved; it can be useful for introducing the issue of human slavery and for sparking discussion. Watch here:



Along with watching this video, our course participants test their slavery footprint to see how many slaves “work” for them. (Note that the survey may lack accuracy but is useful for introducing these issues.)

But as humane educators, it’s important that we offer positive solutions in addition to educating others about these topics.

Anti-slavery expert Kevin Bales has a powerful TED talk (20 min) about how to combat modern slavery. Watch it here:


For more resources about human slavery, trafficking, and forced labor, check out our global issues guide on those topics.