Opinion: What is our role in foreign slavery?

Bruce Walton

Bruce Walton

Bruce Walton is a freshman news major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].

In my last column, I expressed the sadness and crimes against humanity performed by America via enslavement of Africans. One of my readers, Marco, commented that slavery that was done to African Americans more than 100 years ago still happens in other places around the world, and he was right when he said, “We cannot undo all the injustices of history, but this stuff is going on today.”

Thankfully, slavery has been ruled unconstitutional in America and outlawed in most of the developed world. However, while slavery is becoming more and more of a taboo, it doesn’t stop it from happening, even in the developed countries.

Public enslavement of humans is outlawed in first-world countries, as I’ve said, but that still doesn’t mean that there still can’t be slavery in an underground black market. Here in America even, there is still underground human trafficking of sex slaves from Eastern and Latin American countries.

Many under-aged illegal immigrant girls are often taken from their countries and forced to perform sexual acts at illegal brothels. These incidents are not isolated and occur across the country. Not only in America, but across the globe, a new trend has been emerging in sex slave commerce in the black market.

These unregulated and illegal operations recruit mostly little girls in the sex slave trade, and girls put into prostitution and sex services are, on average, around the age of 12.

But even these acts against humanity are only the tip of the iceberg.

According to the International Labor Organization there are at least an estimated 12.3 million people in forced labor worldwide. Children especially make up between 40 and 50 percent of this demographic.

The slavery that swept Europe and the New World for centuries still goes on in the Middle East, where Africans are taken from their homes and forced into labor, just like they were hundreds of years ago in countries you might have heard of like Libya, Ghana, Sudan and Saudi Arabia.

There, people are bought and sold for labor and sex in mass quantities. President Obama fought for the liberation of Egypt, Libya and other countries in that area to be free of oppressive government; but will the Obama administration do the same for human trafficking and slavery in the Middle East just the same? Is that the job of the police or the UN? We’ve already intervened in foreign affairs for the sake of human rights, so would that mean we could do the same for slavery?

It would be very hard to fight the underground circuit. But in places like Sudan, where there is blatant disregard for human lives and things such as genocide, forced labor and sex slave trade are openly operated, you’d think we would handle something like that before involving ourselves with Libya or Egypt. The UN has its own firepower and yet we still see these atrocities in the Middle East and Africa, it makes you wonder what our priorities really are over there.