News & Politics

An Estimated 400,000 People Are Suffering Under 'Modern Slavery' in the US

"This is a truly staggering statistic and demonstrates just how substantial this issue is globally."

Photo Credit: Tolu Olubunmi

While the nation's richest and most powerful continue to enjoy the unparalleled fruits of a "New Guilded Age"—including those who have "yachts that have tiny yachts inside" them—a new report reveals that an estimated 400,000 people living in the United States live under forced servitude characterized as nothing less than "modern slavery."

According to the 2018 Global Slavery Index, published annually by the Walk Free Foundation, there are over 40 million people worldwide living under such conditions, including "one in every 800" Americans.

"The United  States is one of the most advanced countries in the world yet has more than 400,000 modern slaves working under forced labor conditions," said Andrew Forrest, founder of the Walk Free Foundation. "This is a truly staggering statistic and demonstrates just how substantial this issue is globally."

According to the report, the U.S. not only has an enormous population of people working under slave-like conditions, it's insatiable culture of consumerism is also one of the premiere drivers of a global economy that fuels the exploitation and enslavement of workers worldwide:

Globally, imports were a key driver of modern slavery, with the United  States as the biggest purchaser of goods at-risk of being produced through forced labor, importing  more than $144 billion 1 a year. U. S. consumer demand was key to fueling this supply,  with electronics (laptops, computers, mobile  phones), garments, fish , cocoa and timber the highest value categories of imported items. The U. S. total is three times that of the second-largest G20 importer, Japan ($47bn), and nearly ten times more than its neighbor Canada ($15bn).

This reality of the global crisis, added Forrest, "is only possible through a tolerance of exploitation, demonstrated by the billions of at risk goods being brought to the United States to fuel consumer demand for affordable products."

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