I was in complete and utter shock when I began to read Disposable People. The heart-wrenching tale of Seba, a newly freed slave, shook my understanding of people in today’s society, as well as their interactions between each other. I sat in silence as I read Seba’s story. “There they [Seba’s French mistress and husband] stripped me naked, tied my hands behind my back, and began to whip me with a wire attached to a broomstick (Bales 2).” I tried to grasp the magnitude of the situation. I tried unsuccessfully to tell myself that this couldn’t happen in modern times, especially in a city such as Paris. How could this be happening? In the following pages of Kevin Bale’s shocking account of the rampant problem of modern day slavery, I learned of more gruesome details of this horrific crime against humanity, such as the different types of slavery, as well as his best estimate of the number of people still enslaved throughout the world, an appalling 27 million.
After reading the prescribed two chapters in the book (Child Prostitution in Thailand and Bonded Labor in Brazil), I was in a state of disbelief. I had been taught since elementary school that slavery had ended everywhere when the Emancipation Proclamation was enacted. I had held this belief for years, and it was something that I believed in. Disposable People completely reversed everything that I had learned in the last 13 years about slavery, which was very hard to accept. Slavery is everywhere in the modern world.
Like I said before, I was utterly shocked after reading this book. I didn’t know how to react. I was filled with a combination of rage, sorrow, disbelief, and helplessness that I didn’t know what to do with myself. I couldn’t fully understand how a human being could disgrace another person like this. How could any person ever accept their fate of slavery? I would rather die then be under the direct control of someone else.
Since I was having trouble dealing with the information that I had just read, I decided to ask some people what they thought about modern day slavery. The first discussion I had was with my roommates. When I told them what I was reading, they had no idea what I was talking about. They were under the impression that slavery had ended with Abraham Lincoln, like I had been. We discussed the details and differences between the types of slavery mentioned in the book, and they became just as confused and angry as I was. They didn’t know how this catastrophe still continued today. Although this didn’t help me deal with what I was feeling with, I now knew that I was not the only person who was misinformed.
I then decided to ask my parents about the book, since they might have known more about this problem since they had more life experience then I had. As it turns out, they were misinformed as well. As we discussed the issue, it became apparent that their collective knowledge of...