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Slavery Evolved: A Minority Control A Majority Of The Wealth

1993 words - 8 pages

When Americans today consider the term “slavery,” they recall a dark time in their nation's past, when an entire race of people were subjugated solely for the color of their skin, a travesty of civil rights that progressive thinking has striven to heal, insofar as paving the way to the election of an African-American president. Slavery is an antiquated practice from a draconian past, and it has no relevance in this modern, enlightened age. What Americans fail to comprehend is that slavery is not only alive and well, but thriving, and fueling the global economy at the expense of human lives. The International Labour Organization (ILO), a United Nations agency dedicated to protecting the human rights of laborers world-wide, estimates that at any given time, there are nearly 21 million victims of forced labor, 25% of which are children (“Questions”). During the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, Americans took a stand and boycotted businesses that promoted racial segregation, while the government abolished laws that hindered free and equal treatment to all. It was a time of social unrest and political anxiety, but progress often requires revolution, and though growth can be painful and exhausting, it is essential to evolution. In order to ensure the world we live in becomes a place where people around the globe are treated with dignity and where the unalienable rights of all are protected, slavery in all its forms must be eradicated; Americans must once again take a stand, in addition to taking accountability, for all that is entailed in purchasing products produced in sweatshops and through slave labor, and the government should hold American companies responsible for how their goods are manufactured.
Americans, when purchasing an item, determine first the item's price and second, its worth, but how often do people assess these terms outside of attributing a value in dollars and cents? On April 24, 2013, NewYorkTimes journalist Jim Yardley reported on the collapse of Rana Plaza, an eight-story factory complex in the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, which claimed the lives of 1,100 people. A 400-page report of the incident places the blame squarely on the shoulders of the building's owner, Sohel Rana, along with the owners of the building's five garment factories, who now face possible charges of murder, along with accusations of “ignoring safety warnings and locking exit doors,” while the Bangladeshi government continues to receive harsh criticism for its lax enforcement of labor safety standards in the country's billion-dollar clothing manufacturing industry (“Sweatshop Labor”). The garment industry in Bangladesh is one of the world's leading exporters of clothing, second only to China, with more than 5,000 garment factories employing an excess of 3 million workers, producing merchandise for top brand retailers in the United States and Europe (Yardley; “Sweatshop Labor”). Workers in these factories endure long hours and unsafe working...

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