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Modern Slavery: A Documentary and Reference Guide
Pagexvii1(18 of 389)
xvii INTRODUCTION If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong . —Abraham Lincoln The development of the modern-day antislavery movement rose from a long and storied history going back over four centuries in the United States. At fi rst glance, it may seem as though there were only two sides to the debate about African chat- tel slavery—those who were proslavery and those who were against it—but in truth even back as far as the 1600s, the movement developed in fi ts and starts over several centuries and was composed of numerous competing arguments, pro and con, culmi- nating in a tipping point powder-kegged by a Civil War. Historians are still debat- ing whether the impetus for the turn in tide against slavery was religious, economic, ideological, cultural, moral, or political, or, more likely, a combination of forces. Of course, there are serious differences between early arguments against African chattel slavery and the modern-day antislavery movement. The most important, of course, is that slavery was legal in almost every country when the Quakers fi rst began to speak against it in the 1600s. Today, slavery is prohibited in almost every coun- try in the world. Yet, even with the legal prohibitions, slavery continues today, and the development of a modern-day abolitionist movement is eerily similar in many ways to our earlier abolitionist movement. It grew from a few lone voices who rec- ognized modern slavery as having many of the same basic elements as the slavery of the past: the exploitation of some groups by other groups vulnerable people being moved, sometimes vast distances, and forced to do someone else’s bidding for some- one else’s gain. Just as happened centuries ago, the sheer pain and suffering of those enslaved gen- erated fi rst a few fl edgling protests, then the formation of new organizations, then action on the part of larger entities (faith-based, feminist, and human rights groups), and then, legislative action—including resolutions, bills, and fi nally, at the turn of the 21st century in the United States—a comprehensive law that outlined a tripar- tite response: prevention of traffi cking, prosecution of traffi ckers, and protection and assistance to victims of traffi cking.