A Sunday article in the Guardian, connecting globalization to slavery, sourced two Free the Slaves representatives: our President Kevin Bales, and our board member and 2008 Freedom Award winner Xavier Plassat.
Journalist Felicity Lawrence specializes in exposing hidden humanitarian and ecological costs of the global food industry. In Sunday’s article titled “We’ve got to stamp out modern slavery,” Lawrence writes, “It is no accident that globalisation [sic] has seen the reemergence of slavery.” But modern slavery, she says, takes an elusive form:
“The straightforward ownership of chattel slavery is gone, replaced instead by an outsourced, subcontracted kind of control over people, which can be terminated when they have served their purpose. The transnationals universally abhor any idea of slavery or forced labour and yet it is found in their supply chains. Slaves and exploited migrants, often driven into migration by the squeeze on family agriculture, are what make the economics of today’s agribusiness work.” [emphasis added]
Lawrence refers to Bales’ book Disposable People that illustrates how “peasant farmers,” driven from home in search of employment are easy prey for traffickers, who seek cheap labor. And she writes about Plassat, an anti-slavery activist in Brazil, who says that multi-national “agribusiness” creates the perfect storm of conditions for slavery to thrive.