Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation. Historically, slavery was institutionally recognized by many societies; in more recent times slavery has been outlawed in most societies but continues through the practices of debt bondage, indentured servitude, serfdom, domestic servants kept in captivity, certain adoptions in which children are forced to work as slaves, child soldiers, and forced marriage. There are more slaves in the early 21st century than at any previous time but opponents hope slavery can be eradicated within 30 years.
Slavery predates written records and has existed in many cultures. The number of slaves today remains as high as 12 million to 27 million. Most are debt slaves, largely in South Asia, who are under debt bondage incurred by lenders, sometimes even for generations. Human trafficking is primarily used for forcing women and children into sex industries.
In pre-industrial societies, slaves and their labour were economically extremely important. Slaves and serfs made up around three-quarters of the world's population at the beginning of the 19th century.
In modern mechanised societies, there is less need for sheer massive manpower; Norbert Wiener wrote that "mechanical labor has most of the economic properties of slave labor, though ... it does not involve the direct demoralizing effects of human cruelty."
Other articles related to "slavery":
... Slavery in what now comprises Canada existed into the 1830's, when slavery was officially abolished ... Slavery which was practiced within Canada's current geography, was practiced primarily by Aboriginal groups ... to New France, Acadia and the later British North America (see chattel slavery) during the 17th century, but large-scale plantation slavery of the sort that existed in most European colonies in the Americas ...
... Maynard's complex views on slavery reflected shifting sentiments that were common among East Tennessee Unionists ... During the 1830s, Maynard, the son of an abolitionist, found slavery contemptible, calling it "a curse to the country." By 1850, however, Maynard was defending the practice of slavery in letters to his ...
... In the painting of the 1840 Anti-Slavery convention there is a figure to the left described as "M.M.Isambert" and in the centre is John Scoble the secretary of the British Anti-Slavery group who ...
... the new state of West Virginia, and the District of Columbia prohibited slavery before the Civil War ended ... However, in Delaware, New Jersey, and Kentucky, slavery continued to be legal until the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution abolished slavery throughout the United States in December 1865, ending the ...
... The British public had strong anti-slavery beliefs and would not have tolerated joining the pro-slavery side of a fight where slavery was now a prominent issue ...
Famous quotes containing the word slavery:
“Clay answered the petition by declaring that while he looked on the institution of slavery as an evil, it was nothing in comparison with the far greater evil which would inevitably flow from a sudden and indiscriminate emancipation.”
—State of Indiana, U.S. public relief program (1935-1943)
“New York, you are an Egypt! But an Egypt turned inside out. For she erected pyramids of slavery to death, and you erect pyramids of democracy with the vertical organ-pipes of your skyscrapers all meeting at the point of infinity of liberty!”
—Salvador Dali (19041989)
“I have always thought that all men should be free; but if any should be slaves it should be first those who desire it for themselves, and secondly those who desire it for others. Whenever [I] hear anyone, arguing for slavery I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.”
—Abraham Lincoln (18091865)