Report estimates over 400,000 slaves currently live in the US

Originally published at:


Are we talking slave in sense of these women are making money in a way our god disproves of, or slavery in the sense of the prison-industrial plantations?


Here is a relevant article from the folk at global slavery index
They do a good job of breaking down the issues in the U.S. I would have liked more focus the fact that slavery was never abolished in the U.S. Slavery is still completely legal here as long as you only enslave convicts. Next time you have a chance to glad hand a politician, ask em why. Send an email, write a letter, this is one issue where we in the U.S. can make a positive change and end legal slavery within our boarders.

For me, some definitions of ‘modern slavery’ can seem a bit overbroad. I’m a bit worried that those who choose to work in the sex industry are being hurt by badly crafted laws intended to stop sex traffickers. For this reason, I feel that ending the legalized institutional slavery is one issue we can get everyone behind without a lot of the unintentional harm that often comes with the this issue.


It’s worse than that. Sex trafficking really does happen, even in the US, but religious anti-sexworker organizations deliberately conflate what they regard as immoral behavior with actual sex-slavery, injuring both to advance their puritan agenda.


Report estimates over 400,000 slaves currently live in the US

Number needs a few more zeros at the end.


Me too. Honestly my two concerns are:

  1. It gives fuel to the paranoia and hysteria of “sex slavery” rings. Every odd ball in a parking lot now is someone ready to whisk a WASP’s precious child away. As well as the “build the wall” types who have the balls to say “We must separate the children because, who knows, those people they were found traveling with might be sex traffickers.”

  2. The mentioned criteria, while real issues that we should address, seem tame and quaint compared to chattel slavery. Though I can’t really think of a better word to use.

That said, yeah, those things mentioned are horrible and real world concerns. Regarding the sex stuff, legalization and some basic regulation would go a long way in making the sex professions safer and help eliminate them being controlled by others.


Often it hides in plain sight in the U.S. For those interested in the issue I recommend this article:


You are absolutely correct. It does happen. We just need to make sure our efforts to stop it dont harm people who choose to work in that industry.

Perhaps but there are actual sex slavery rings that need to be stopped.

Well said.


So, with about four percent of the world’s population, and one percent of its slaves, the US can boast that folks there are 75% less likely than average to be a slave.

Sounds like faint praise for the ‘leaders of the free world’…


I agree. But someone somewhere is going to have a head line of “400,000 sex slaves in the US”, and that is going to be the figure sticking in peoples head, making the paranoia and fear disproportional to the reality.

I downloaded the PDF but I don’t have time to got through the rather large doc. Hopefully they break it down as I am curious as to the number. But also like you said, do they mix in sex workers who may be under some coercion but not actual sex slaves in those numbers?

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Thank you. That was a harrowing read.

Heinlein’s social experiment fiction gets most of the attention, but the book of his that had the most impact on me will always be Citizen of the Galaxy which taught me at a young age that no culture is immune to slavery, and not just wage slavery, but real full-fledged ownership of human lives.


Try this breakdown. It’s very well annotated.


No culture and also no political ideology. Once in a while you’ll hear a Libertarian (one who inevitably turns out to be male and a white supremacist) talk about “voluntary slavery” as something that should be considered because, hey, it’s just two people entering into a contract. A Libertarian advocating for it seems strange but, like anti-choice Libertarians, they do exist:


Instead of looking backwards people should be more concerned about what they can change. Slavery is abhorrent and we must learn from the past. The past can’t be changed but the future can be. Not to minimize anything but the biggest offenders are getting away with it because people care more about being politically correct than standing up against these human rights abusers.

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The problem is that it’s a contract in which one party relinquishes the very agency that facilitates their ability to take responsibility for their end of it. It should be prohibited for the same reason giving up one’s franchise in pepertuum should be prohibited, it’s an abjuration of the responsibility for self-determination.


I seem to remember a professor explaining to the class that one cannot sign away their legal protections. That any person, contract or no, has the right to self determination and the legal exercise thereof. Obviously recent court rulings are bringing that concept in to doubt with binding arbitration clauses and such but I think the general prohibition on morally unsupportable contractual clauses for things like slavery are still being upheld.


Hmm don’t you basically sign some away when you join the Military? Though yes, it is temporary.

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In what way is being ‘politically correct’ supportive of slavery, specifically? Because that sounds an awful lot like a drive by smear without evidence.


I believe you can choose to stop serving and spend the rest of your agreed upon term of service in a special facility with bars :wink: . You can also seek discharge by failing to meet fitness requirements, failing training, going AWOL, misconduct, or illegal drug use. Another option is asking for discharge to a reserve unit. My point being that there are at least some ways out.

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They certainly don’t help the cause against real sex trafficking with dubious statistics.