Why We Need Humane Education: 35.8 Million Slaves

In some of our professional development at the Institute for Humane Education, participants learn about modern slavery.

What they discover often shocks and horrifies them.

Many people in developed countries remain unaware of slavery as a contemporary challenge, assuming that such practices ended in the 19th century. And often those who know about modern slavery are largely ignorant regarding the breadth of the problem and the depth of their unwitting participation.

Because human slavery is illegal everywhere, and thus often hidden, gathering accurate numbers is challenging.

But according to the 2014 Global Slavery Index, published by the NGO Walk Free, today there are around 35.8 million women, children, and men subjected to forced servitude and/or ownership.

According to the report, modern slavery is defined as “ … one person possessing or controlling another person in such as a way as to significantly deprive that person of their individual liberty, with the intention of exploiting that person through their use, management, profit, transfer or disposal.”

According to the report, of the 167 countries surveyed, slavery was found in all of them, including developed countries such as the U.S. and in the EU.

Those “with the largest estimated numbers of people in modern slavery” include India, China, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Russia, Nigeria, and the DR Congo.

The report also catalogs what countries are doing to help eradicate slavery, and notes the factors that are most indicative of vulnerable populations, such as civil unrest in a country, levels of discrimination, or lack of human rights.

Read the complete report.

Many schools (rightfully) teach about the trans-Atlantic slave trade; but they neglect to explore modern slavery.

With humane education, not only do students explore issues such as modern slavery – diving into the complexities and interconnections — but they also investigate solutions and develop their own, taking action on both a personal and systemic level to help address this global challenge.

Because slavery is embedded into so many of the products we use and systems we rely on, we cannot help but be perpetrators.

But we can also be solutionaries.

Humane education helps us take positive action so that we can reduce our slavery footprint and catalyze governments and businesses to eradicate modern slavery.

Find resources, lesson plans, and more to teach/learn about issues related to modern slavery and human trafficking in our global issues guide on Pinterest.