13. "The Slave Trade"
While most of us think slavery is a thing of the past, the Anti-Slavery
Society for the Protection of Human Rights (est. 1834) knows better.
Each year they prepare a report documenting each case o£ slavery
and present it to the U.N. The report goes to the new Working Group
of Experts on Slavery under the United Nations Human Rights Sub-Commission.
There the detailed and documented case studies are debated and passed
on. Nothing else is done.
When the U.N., in 1956, adopted the convention against the practice
of slavery, it was estimated that 62 million people were classifiable
as slaves. In 1975, the experts unanimously reported that the sum of
slavery in the world had not diminished in the last decade.
Of the 147 U.N. members, only 85 have ratified the anti-slavery convention.
The last decade has seen an increasing sensitivity about slavery and
most nations have "abolished" the practice. Still, it is a
practice deeply embedded in many cultures. As late as 1967, the Defense
Minister of the South Arabian Federation showed up in London with one
of his slaves.
Here is a brief survey of slavery in the modern world as the Anti-Slavery
Society and the United Nations see it:
Chattel slavery: Arabian Peninsula and the Sudan, Mindanao, Guinea,
Paraguay, Algeria, Chad, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger,
Debt bondage: India, Burma, Columbia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador
Serfdom: It is widespread in Latin America and still found in Afghanistan,
Ecuador, Ethiopia and Peru.
Sham adoption and exploitation of children: Syria, Lebanon, Turkey,
Latin America and West Africa. (The 10 year old bought in Sierra Leone
and brought to the U.S. as a slave would fall in this category --
S.F. Chronicle, March 4, 1978.)
Traffic in persons (white slavery): This still exists but mostly
falls under the jurisdiction of INTERPOL.
This is an important story because most people do not know slavery
still exists, and most Americans do not know that the United States
is one of the nations not ratifying the Anti-Slavery Convention. These
reasons qualify this story for nomination as one of the "best censored"
stories of 1977.
Donald Katz, New Republic, June 4, 1977, p. 19-21.