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The Slave Next Door

The Slave Next Door: Human Trafficking and Slavery in America Today

Kevin Bales
Ron Soodalter
Copyright Date: 2009
Edition: 1
Pages: 320
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctt1pppv5
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  • Book Info
    The Slave Next Door
    Book Description:

    In this riveting book, authors and authorities on modern day slavery Kevin Bales and Ron Soodalter expose the disturbing phenomenon of human trafficking and slavery that exists now in the United States. InThe Slave Next Doorwe find that slaves are all around us, hidden in plain sight: the dishwasher in the kitchen of the neighborhood restaurant, the kids on the corner selling cheap trinkets, the man sweeping the floor of the local department store. In these pages we also meet some unexpected slaveholders, such as a 27-year old middle-class Texas housewife who is currently serving a life sentence for offences including slavery. Weaving together a wealth of voices-from slaves, slaveholders, and traffickers as well as from experts, counselors, law enforcement officers, rescue and support groups, and others-this book is also a call to action, telling what we, as private citizens, can do to finally bring an end to this horrific crime.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-94299-8
    Subjects: Sociology, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. PART I SLAVES IN THE LAND OF THE FREE

    • 1 THE OLD SLAVERY AND THE NEW
      (pp. 3-17)

      Certain things we know to be true. We know that slavery is a bad thing, perpetrated by bad people. We also know that slavery not only exists throughout the world today but flourishes. With approximately twentyseven million people in bondage, it is thought to be the third most profitable criminal enterprise of our time, following only drugs and guns. In fact, more than twice as many people are in bondage in the world today than were taken from Africa during the entire 350 years of the Atlantic slave trade. And we know that slavery is alive and more than well...

    • 2 HOUSE SLAVES
      (pp. 18-42)

      Domestic slavery is unique among the many types of bondage in that it is less aboutmakingmoney than it is aboutsavingmoney. The slaveholder, like Sandra Bearden, is stealing services for his or her own benefit rather than for profit. This form of slavery is also cheaper to operate than the others: bring in the victim, and she’s yours for years.¹ Her keep requires minimal food and clothing, little or no medicine, and a mattress on the floor of the utility room. There are no start-up costs, as in a factory or on a farm; a domestic slave...

    • 3 SLAVES IN THE PASTURES OF PLENTY
      (pp. 43-77)

      About thirty miles due south of the Southwest Florida International Airport is the town of Naples. It sits on its own bay off the Gulf of Mexico, not far from Sanibel, Vanderbilt Beach, and the Isles of Capri. Naples is a lovely town—a rich town—attracting wealthy retirees and men of industry. A palm-lined walk down Fifth Avenue will take you past art galleries offering everything from contemporary sculpture to portraits of your pets; chic restaurants featuring a variety of ethnic and exotic cuisines; high-end clothing and jewelry stores; and a fair smattering of Bentleys and Rolls Royces.

      A...

    • 4 SUPPLY AND DEMAND
      (pp. 78-116)

      Thousands of women and children are trafficked into prostitution and other forms of sex slavery in the United States. Many are immigrants. They come from every corner of the world, by plane, car, truck, bus, van, boat, or on foot. They share few outward characteristics. Some are Russian high school graduates; others are Mexican indigenous women who have spent more time in farm fields than in school. Others are Cameroonians whose main interest is in attending college. Some have legitimate papers, others falsified documents, and still others no papers at all. Yet what they do share is the hope and...

    • 5 NEW BUSINESS MODELS
      (pp. 117-136)

      What do acrobats, naked gardeners, hair braiding, boy’s choirs, deaf Mexicans, and the shirt on your back all have in common? In a word: slavery. While most slaves in America today fall into three categories—agricultural labor, forced prostitution, and domestic servitude—there is no lack of ingenuity on the part of traffickers in exploiting their victims. Slave traffickers are imaginative and innovative businessmen. Where an opportunity exists for exploitation, however strange or unlikely, there’s a good chance there is a hidden slave.

      Ashley’s Hair Braiding Salon looked like any one of hundreds of similar establishments across America. Located on...

    • 6 EATING, WEARING, WALKING, AND TALKING SLAVERY
      (pp. 137-160)

      Slavery probably crept into your life several times today, some before you even got to work. Rolling off your bed, standing on that pretty handwoven rug, maybe you threw on a cotton T-shirt. In the kitchen did you make a cup of coffee, spoon in a little sugar, and then kick back with a chocolate croissant and your laptop to check the headlines? After a shower, maybe you drove to the station. Waiting for the train, perhaps you made a couple of calls on your cell phone.

      All in all a normal day, but slavery was involved in almost every...

  5. PART II THE FINAL EMANCIPATION

    • 7 SLAVES IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD
      (pp. 163-194)

      Slavery has been identified in over one hundred of our cities; the real number is undoubtedly much higher. When we hear about slavery in our midst, the tendency is to think, “Not in my town.” In a way, we consider ourselves above it, especially if we live in comfortable, relatively trouble-free communities. The harsh truth is, modern-day slaveryisin your town. You are not protected from it by nationality, race, gender, or income. It can afflict anyone—the gardener down the street, the construction crew on a local office building, your neighbor’s housekeeper, your daughter on her way to...

    • 8 STATES OF CONFUSION
      (pp. 195-210)

      Slavery, in its many forms, exists in every state in the country; the cases don’t lack variety. Among the hundreds of cases brought to light over the past eight years have been instances of forced agricultural labor in Florida, New Hampshire, and Colorado; slave-driven sweatshops in American Samoa; enslaved domestics in New York, Michigan, and Washington, D.C.; and women and children forced to engage in commercial sex in Tennessee, California, and New Jersey. Below are a few snapshots of human trafficking cases that have been prosecuted in a handful of states.

      In Alaska, in 2001, seven Russian women, two of...

    • 9 THE FEDS
      (pp. 211-250)

      It is important to look at the federal government’s actions—both positive and negative—in its relatively new war against human trafficking in America. Many federal officials have taken on the task of rooting out and prosecuting traffickers, as well as coordinating with service providers and victim advocates providing care for survivors. We’ll speak with representatives of some of the federal agencies whose job description has been expanded to include modern-day slavery and get a sense of how they feel the campaign is going. We’ll also examine some cases that seem to stand in direct contradiction to the antitrafficking position...

    • 10 A FUTURE WITHOUT SLAVERY
      (pp. 251-268)

      The last time America brought slavery to an end, the price was high. Over six hundred thousand Americans died in our Civil War—more than the total loss of American life in all our other wars combined. Not every Union or Confederate soldier was fighting to end or preserve the institution of slavery, but make no mistake: slavery was the spark that ignited the war. After the war the emancipation of four million Americans, promised by the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, was badly handled and incomplete. The government’s failure to offer freed slaves the full rights of citizenship was...

  6. APPENDIX: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
    (pp. 269-276)
  7. NOTES
    (pp. 277-300)
  8. INDEX
    (pp. 301-312)