Understanding Modern-Day Slavery

Sidebar to the article Ending Modern-Day Slavery: Using Research to Inform U.S. Anti-Human Trafficking Efforts by Maureen Q. McGough

Most countries banned "chattel slavery" — one person owning another person as property — in the 1800s. Despite this, slavery continues in the modern day. Although owning slaves used to be a major investment formalized through legal documents, today's slaves are held through debt bondage, indentured servitude or other forms of control.

For more than a decade, the phrase "human trafficking" has been used to describe the act of holding a person in forced service — the very definition of slavery. The term can cause confusion, however, because it implies that traffickers always transport victims across borders; in actuality, victims can also be held in their own homes. Experts maintain that when considering the issue of human trafficking, it is important to do so in an accurate context — acknowledging that trafficking is modern slavery and that trafficked persons are slaves.

Date Created: February 27, 2013