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A Comparison Between Slaves in the Late 1800s and Slaves in the 21st Century

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Slavery: A Comparison between Slaves in the Late 1800s and Slaves in the 21st Century.

A slave is an individual obligated into submission by force, threats, coercion, or even lies.

"Common characteristics distinguish slavery from other human rights violations. A slave is: forced to work -- through mental or physical threat; owned or controlled by an 'employer', usually through mental or physical abuse or threatened abuse; dehumanized, treated as a commodity or bought and sold as 'property'; physically constrained or has restrictions placed on his/her freedom of movement" (What is Modern Slavery).

Hispanics immigrants are often referred to as slaves due to the type of manual or field labor they perform. However, these people choose to do this type of work and they are getting paid for their labor. On the other hand, one of the modern slavery categories does shows in the form of bonded labor; where the individual is tricked into taking a loan that they are not able to pay with money and therefore is paid in labor. Many times this type of slavery is hereditary (What is Modern Slavery). Other forms of slavery seen today, in our "modern society" are: early and forced marriage, forced labor, slavery by descent, trafficking, and child labor.

In the 1800s in particular, when "blacks" where being trafficked into the "new world" from Africa; sexual violence was just a part of the horrors of this practice where "Masters" subjugate others less knowledgeable or submissive for their own personal gains and profits with no regard to the violation of human rights that takes place in the process.

In the novel "Dessa Rose" (Williams), some of this horrors involving human trafficking are explained: slaves being sold to the highest bidder or because their current "master" was not pleased with their performance - "He'd sell Kaine to Charleston or the next slave coffle that passes their way" (Williams p.35); female slaves being raped continuously by either their masters, or the guards in charge of managing the "coffles" (see picture below); or by having another slave forced upon them in order to produce more slaves without the added cost of buying more; or slaves being punished by use of the "saltwater treatment" (Williams p.30), or "killed, executed, or branded" (Williams p.38). Physical abuse was and still is the most prominent form of punishment on slaves.

African Slaves in a "Coffle". (Kaye 2005)

The article on slavery by Mike Kaye from 2005 explains how individuals sold in the Transatlantic Slave Trade were considered only in monetary terms. "Enslaved Africans were routinely tortured (e.g. whipped, branded, beaten, chained, etc.); separated from other family members; and

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