Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Human trafficking

Trafficking in human beings, sometimes called human trafficking, or sex trafficking (as the majority of victims are women or children forced into prostitution) is not the same as people smuggling. A smuggler will facilitate illegal entry into a country for a fee, but on arrival at their destination, the smuggled person is free; the trafficking victim is enslaved. Victims do not agree to be trafficked: they are tricked, lured by false promises, or forced into it. Traffickers use coercive tactics including deception, fraud, intimidation, isolation, threat and use of physical force, debt bondage or even force-feeding with drugs of abuse to control their victims. Whilst the majority of victims are women, and sometimes children, forced into prostitution, other victims include men, women and children forced into manual labor. Due to the illegal nature of trafficking, the exact extent is unknown. A US Government report published in 2003, estimates that 800,000-900,000 people worldwide are trafficked across borders each year. This figure does not include those who are trafficked internally.

How people become slaves

Historically, most slaves ancestors were initially captured in wars or kidnapped in isolated raids but some were sold into slavery by their parents as a means of surviving extreme conditions. Most slaves were born into that status. Ancient warfare often resulted in slavery for prisoners and their families who were either killed, ransomed or sold as slaves. Captives were often considered the property of those who captured them and were looked upon as a prize of war. Normally they were sold, bartered or ransomed. It originally may have been more humane than simply executing those who would return to fight if they were freed, but the effect led to widespread enslavement of particular groups of people. Those captured sometimes differed in ethnicity, nationality, religion, or race from the captors but often were the same as the captors. The dominant group in an area might take captives and turn them into slaves with little fear of suffering the like fate, but the possibility might be present from reversals of fortune, as when Seneca warns, at the height of the Roman Empire,

And as often as you reflect how much power you have over a slave, remember that your master has just as much power over you. "But I have no master," you say. You are still young; perhaps you will have one. Do you not know at what age Hecuba entered captivity, or Croesus, or the mother of Darius, or Plato, or Diogenes?

and when various powerful nations fought among themselves anyone might find himself enslaved. The actual amount of force needed to kidnap individual people for slaves could lead to enslavement of those secure from warfare, as brief sporadic raids or kidnapping often sufficed. St. Patrick recounts in his Confession having been kidnapped by pirates, and the Biblical figure Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers.

Ancient societies characterized by poverty, rampant warfare or lawlessness, famines, population pressures, and cultural and technological lag are frequently exporters of slaves to more developed nations. Today the illegal slave trade (mostly in Africa) deals with slaves who are rural people forced to move to cities, or those purchased in rural areas and sold into slavery in cities. These moves take place due to loss of subsistence agriculture, thefts of land, and population increases.

In many ancient cultures, persons (often including their family) convicted of serious crimes could be sold into slavery. The proceeds from this sale were often used to compensate the victims. The Code of Hammurabi (~1800 BCE) prescribes this for failure to maintain a water dam, to compensate victims of a flood. The convicted criminal might be sold into slavery if he lacked the property to make compensation to the victims. Other laws and other crimes might enslave the criminal regardless of his property; some laws called for the criminal and all his property to be handed over to his victim.

Also, persons have been sold into slavery so that the money could be used to pay off their debts. This could range from a judge, king or Emperor ordering a debtor sold with all his family, to the poor selling off their own children to prevent starvation. In times of dire need such as famine, people have offered themselves into slavery not for a purchase price, but merely so that their new master would feed and take care of them.

In most institutions of slavery throughout the world, the children of slaves became the property of the master. Local laws varied as to whether the status of the mother or of the father determined the fate of the child; but were usually determined by the status of the mother. In many cultures, slaves could earn their freedom through hard work and buying their own freedom; this was not possible in all cultures.

The type of work slaves did depended on the time period and location of their slavery. In general, they did the same work as everyone else in the lower echelons of the society they lived in but were not paid for it beyond room and board, clothing etc. The most common types of slave work are domestic service, agriculture, mineral extraction, army make-up, industry, and commerce. Prior to about the 18th century, domestic services were acquired in some wealthier households and may include up to four female slaves and their children on its staff. The chattels (as they are called in some countries) are expected to cook, clean, sometimes carry water from an outdoor pump into the house, and grind cereal. Most hired servants to do the same tasks.

Many slaves were used in agriculture and cultivation from ancient times to about 1860. The strong, young men and women were sometimes forced to work long days in the fields, with little or no breaks for water or food. Since slaves were usually considered valuable property, they were usually well taken care of in the sense that minimally adequate food and shelter were provided to maintain good health, and that the workload was not excessive to the point of endangering health. However, this was not always the case in many countries where they worked on land that was owned by absentee owners. The overseers in many of these areas literally worked the slaves to death.

In mineral extraction, the majority of the work, when done by slaves, was done nearly always by men. In some places, they mined the salt that was used during extensive trade in the 19th century. Some of the men in ancient civilizations that were bought into chattel slavery were trained to fight in their nation's army and other military services. Chattel slaves were occasionally trained in artisan workshops for industry and commerce. The men worked in metalworking, while the females normally worked in either textile trades or domestic household tasks. The majority of the time, the slave owners did not pay the chattels for their services beyond room and board, clothing etc.

Female slaves, who for the most were from Africa, were long traded to the Middle Eastern countries and kingdoms by Arab traders, and sold into sexual slavery to work as concubines or prostitutes. Typically, females were sold at a lower price than their male counterparts, with one exception being when (predominantly) Irish women captured in Viking raids were sold to the Middle East in the 800-1200 period.


In Byzantium, there was a considerable slave population, and, up until the 12th century, "infidel" and "heathen" slaves worked for both individual families and the state. By the 12th century there was a growing opposition to slavery, but nothing like the American Emancipation Proclamation was ever issued.

It was not uncommon in Byzantium for male slaves to be castrated. Even some important leaders of the army and navy, during various periods of Byzantine history, were castrated -- often because very high positions were available to eunuchs, as they were of no threat to the Byzantine Emperor (The Emperor was never castrated). Once Western ideas of sex, chivalry and more humane treatment became more popularized in Byzantium, however, there was a stigma attached to castration.

History of slavery

Slavery predates writing and evidence for it can be found in almost all cultures and continents. Its many origins remain unknown. An example of slavery is thought to have existed in the walled town of Jericho which was established around 10,000 BCE. The settlers of Jericho were plagued by roaming hunting and gathering bands, which they killed or captured. [citation needed] It is thought that the ones that were captured were then put to work as slaves who themselves may have later eventually become citizens and slave owners.[citation needed] Slavery can be traced to the earliest records, such as the Code of Hammurabi in Mesopotamia (~1800 BCE.), which refers to slavery as an already established institution. The forced labor of women in some ancient and modern cultures may also be identified as slavery. Slavery, in this case, includes sexual services.

The history of slavery in the ancient world was closely tied to warfare. Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Hebrew, Greek, Roman, Persian, Chinese, Mayan, Aztec and Indian sources are replete with references to slavery in connection with warfare. Captured prisoners of war were frequently impressed into slavery by their captors, often as manual labourers in military, civil engineering, or agricultural projects, or as household servants. Many ancient households were maintained with one or more slaves and slaves provided nearly all the agricultural and construction labour in some societies.

Many ancient societies had many more slaves than nominally "free" citizens who controlled them. Slavery nearly everywhere permitted cruelty and abuse although slaves were usually treated semi-humanely as valuable "property". Slavery nearly always predates written history on every continent. After writing was introduced, domestic slavery and sometimes concubine slavery was noted among the nomadic Arabs, and among Native American hunter gatherers, African, New Guinean, and New Zealand tribes, and among the Germanic and Viking raiders and many other pre-literate people.

Most slavery is associated with war in that losers are taken prisoner by the victors to prevent a future conflict, or as a form of penal punishment with the criminals being made slaves to partially compensate the victims. Debt slavery existed in very early times, and some African people had the custom of putting up wives and children as hostages for an obligation; if the obligation was not paid, the hostages became slaves. In Homer's Greece, it was not a crime, although unusual, for a master to beat or kill a slave, and the testimony of slaves was not allowed in Greek courts unless it was obtained through torture.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Ancient Egypt

The Egyptians used slaves captured in war or bought from foreigners. Contrary to popular belief, the great pyramids were built by free, not slave, labor. The Egyptians did not use slaves in great numbers. The lands were farmed by free peasants who gave the pharaoh a portion of their crops. One historian noted that the peasants were "only a notch above nudity and starvation." All of the slaves captured in war were considered the property of pharaoh and were not sold to private citizens. Although, it is recorded that the pharaohs did give many slaves as gifts to generals or priests.

Pharaohs such as Thutmose III and Rameses II published detailed lists of the type and number of enemies captured during their campaigns into Canaan. Ahmose, a soldier under the Pharaoh Ahmose, founder of the 18th Dynasty, in describing the fall of the Hyksos capital at Avaris reports on the walls of his tomb: "Then Avaris was despoiled. Then I carried off spoil from there: one man, three women, a total of four persons. Then his majesty gave them to me to be slaves" (see Hyksos). Slaves were also obtained throughout the Pharaonic period by expeditions into Nubia. As in other ancient cultures, there was a strong link between military aggression and slavery.

Slavery is also found in the sections of the Bible related to Egypt. Joseph is sold into slavery in Egypt, and after his time, at the beginning of Exodus, all the Hebrews of Egypt have been reduced to slave laborers. Much like the story of Joseph, there are examples of slaves rising to higher social status, even of marrying into native Egyptian families. However, there are many more exmples of slaves being worked until death in Sinai copper mines. As in many later societies, there was a wide variety of slaves: from highly valued house servants and tutors, to skilled artisans, to field laborers (Canaanite "asiatics" are often depicted at the wine press).

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Ancient Rome

In the Roman Republic and the Early Roman Empire about 15% to 20% of the population were slaves, and - until the 2nd century when laws protecting slaves were instituted - a master could legally kill a slave. However this seems to have been a somewhat rare occurrence, for complex social reasons. In any event, the Cornelian Law in 82 BCE forbade masters from killing a slave; the Petronian Law in 32 BCE forbade masters from compelling slaves to fight in the arena. Suetonius wrote (Claudius, 25) that, under Emperor Claudius, if a master neglected the health of his slave, and the slave died, the master was guilty of murder; furthermore, if the slave recovered in a temple of Asclepius, he should be freed. Dio Chrysostom, a Stoic Greek under Emperor Trajan, devoted two Discourses (14 and 15), delivered over two days at the Forum, to the condemnation of slavery. Seneca the Elder (in De Clementia or "On Mercy," 1:18), in the first century CE, records that masters who were cruel to their slaves were publicly insulted. Hadrian, in the second century CE, renewed the Cornelian and Petronian laws. Ulpian, a Stoic lawyer of the third century CE under Emperor Caracalla, made it illegal for parents to sell their children into slavery. The last notable pagan Emperor, Diocletian, in the late third and early fourth century CE, made it illegal for a creditor to enslave a debtor and for a man to sell himself into slavery to pay a debt.

Vedius Pollio, a citizen of Rome, reportedly fed the bodies of his slaves to his pet fish. Flavius Gratianus, a fourth-century Roman emperor who favored Christianity, ruled that any slave who accused his master of a crime should be immediately burned alive, but this applied mostly to plots against the emperor's own life. Roman slaves who participated in revolts were often crucified.

In ancient Greco-Roman times, slavery was related to the practice of infanticide. Unwanted infants were exposed to nature to die; these were then often rescued by slave traders, who raised them to become slaves. Justin Martyr, in his First Apology, defended the Christian practice of not exposing infant only secondarily because the child might die; first of all,

But as for us,we have been taught that to expose newly-born children is the part of wicked men; and this we have been taught lest we should do any one an injury, and lest we should sin against God, first, because we see that almost all so exposed (not only the girls, but also the males) are brought up to prostitution.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Ancient China

In ancient China, the lives of slaves were the hardest of all Chinese. Many rich Chinese families had slaves to do the menial work for them, both in the fields and at home. The Emperor and his court usually owned hundreds or even thousands of slaves. Most people were born slaves because their mothers were slaves; other people were sold into slavery to pay debts and others were captured in raids or battle.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Slavery Abolition Act

Newton's Laws of Motion describe only the motion of a body as a whole and are valid only for motions relative to a reference frame. The following are brief modern formulations of Newton's three laws of motion:

First law
An object at rest tends to stay in rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion in a straight line at constant speed unless acted upon by an external, unbalanced force.
Second law
The rate of change of momentum of a body is proportional to the resultant force acting on the body and is in the same direction.
Third law
To every action (force applied) there is an equal and opposite reaction (equal force applied in the opposite direction).
Another way of stating Newton's third law, an interaction between two objects, is that, if object A exerts a force on object B, object B will exert the same magnitude force on A, but in the opposite direction.
It is important to note that these three laws together with his law of gravitation provide a satisfactory basis for the explanation of motion of everyday macroscopic objects under everyday conditions. However, when applied to extremely high speeds or extremely small objects, Newton's laws break down; this was remedied by Albert Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity for high speeds and by quantum mechanics for small objects.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Arab Empire

The Arab or Middle Eastern slave trade or trans-Saharan slavery was mostly centered around settlements and ports in East Africa. It is one of the oldest known slave trades, predating the European transatlantic slave trade by hundreds of years. Male slaves, after being transported and sold, were employed as servants, soldiers, or labourers by their owners. Female slaves, mostly from Africa, were long traded to Middle Eastern countries and kingdoms by Arab, Indian, or Oriental traders, some as female servants, others as sexual slaves. Arab, Indian, and Asian traders were often involved in the capture or purchase and transport of African slaves northward across the Sahara desert and the Indian Ocean region into Arabia and the Middle East, Persia, and the Indian subcontinent.

More African slaves may have crossed the Sahara Desert, the Red Sea, and the Indian Ocean than crossed the Atlantic. Some sources estimate that between 11 and 17 million slaves crossed the Red Sea, Indian Ocean, and Sahara Desert from 650 to 1900, compared to perhaps 11-12 million transported across the Atlantic from 1500 to the late 1860s. The Arab or Middle Eastern slave trade continued in some areas into the early 1900s. [7]

Slaves were also brought into the Arab world from Central Asia, Eastern Europe and the Caucasus mountains (Georgians, Armenians, etc.) White slaves were generally called Mamluks and black slaves referred to as zanji (it should be pointed out that the word zanji in Arabic simply means 'black' as it does zenci in Turkish).

Until the 10th century many black slaves could be found in the marshlands of Iraq, until the zanji/Khawarij revolt which turned the tide in the import of black slaves, after that many more white slaves than black were brought into the Arab world (see Tabari "Revolt of the zanj").

White slaves served in the army and formed an elite corp of troops eventually revolting in Egypt to form the Mamluk dynasty.

As in the Ottoman empire slavery had no racial connotations. During the Fatimid rule of Egypt at least one black slave rose to the position of ruler of Egypt. The white Mamluks ruled Egypt after the Ayyubids until the coming of the Ottomans

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Ottoman Empire

In the Ottoman Empire after battles, winners often castrated their captives as a display of power. Castrated men — eunuchs — were often admitted to special social classes and were used to guard harems. Ottoman tradition relied on slave concubines for the "royalty" along with legal marriage for reproduction. Slave concubines were used for sexual reproduction to emphasize the patriarchal nature of power (power being "hereditary" through sons only). Slave concubines, unlike wives, had no recognized lineage.

Slaves in the Ottoman empire in general were brought from Eastern Europe and parts of Southern Russia. In the Islamic world slavery had religious rather than racial connotations, with most of the slaves in Ottoman history being Christians. The Ottomans had many European and Central Asian "Mameluk" slaves and the elite Janissary troops of the Ottoman army were all Christian-born slaves taken mostly from the Balkans.

Towards the latter part of the Ottoman Empire during the 19th century with the decline of its European territories the Ottomans began to import slaves from the sub Sahara via Egypt. Black slaves became a common sight amongst the Ottoman elite where they worked mostly in the households of rich Ottomans as servants or maids. When slavery was abolished in Turkey by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk some of these black former slaves moved from Istanbul to the city of İzmir and the surrounding villages.

Turkey has had no history of segregation on racial grounds and many of those both black and white who were the descendants of slaves have intermarried with the Turkish population.