Free the Slaves President Kevin Bales was on the radio show ‘State of Affairs’ on Louisville, KY’s NPR station WFPL this week, talking about modern-day slavery. In this interview, Bales discussed the distinction between human trafficking and slavery, saying “human trafficking is simply a process by which people are brought into a situation of slavery.” But, he continues, human trafficking victims “are only a smaller part of the slaves in the world.”
He also discussed the alarmingly low cost of slaves today. At the height of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, back in the mid 1800’s, the average cost of a slave in the U.S. was the equivalent of $40 to $50 thousand dollars in today’s money. Today, the average cost of a human being is a mere $90. There are more slaves today than ever before in history—an estimated 27 million.
Explosive population growth, impoverished communities rocked by conflict, natural disasters, disease epidemics, unprotected by strong rule of law are all factors that push people into slavery.
Bales says, “We have a much larger pool of potentially enslavable people in the world today. In the basic notions of supply and demand that has caused a collapse in the price of a human being.”
Press the button below to hear Kevin Bales’ 50 minute interview:
Kevin Bales recently won the 2011 Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order from the University of Louisville. The award was given for the book ‘Ending Slavery,’ which describes how it is possible to end slavery in our lifetime. Buy the book here!