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Human Trafficking Section. Jason Sherman – Spring 2012. Logistics. Office Hours in Lamont Café from 7-10pm on Monday. Sign-Up available online . Midterms. Game Today. 4 Teams 3 Rounds

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Human trafficking section

Human Trafficking Section

Jason Sherman – Spring 2012


  • Office Hours in Lamont Café from 7-10pm on Monday. Sign-Up available online.

  • Midterms

Game today
Game Today

  • 4 Teams

  • 3 Rounds

  • After each round, each team will get 3 minutes to decide which of the other 3 teams had the best single argument from the entire round

    • Must articulate the argument made and why you selected it

  • Each team selected by another team gets a point

  • Winning team: free pass on discussion questions

Hereditary slavery debt bondage
Hereditary Slavery & Debt Bondage

  • Hereditary Slavery (To Plead Our Own Cause: Selek’ha, ILO pg 42-43)

    • Religious duty

    • Acceptance of “destiny”

    • Deep rooted into culture

      • Pessimistic diction in ILO

  • Debt Bondage (A Crime so Monstrous Ch. 8)

    • 80% sold freedom for less than $11

    • Debt passed through generations

    • Acceptance of “responsibility”

Human trafficking section

  • You are a researcher and journalist investigating slavery in Africa. You come across, talk to and film hereditary slaves. However, their masters deny that they are slave-masters, and the government, which claims slavery has been abolished and that there are no slaves, will not investigate or address situations of slavery.

    • What can you do?

Buying slaves redemption
Buying Slaves/Redemption

  • Purchasing freedom for slaves is an effective method of helping. Agree or disagree.

    • Jameson (3-4), Faith (3-4), Sarah (3-4)

Gendered nature of slavery
Gendered Nature of Slavery

  • High proportion of enslaved females: female slaves can be used for reproduction (bearing children) and they can be incorporated into the household in a low status position.

  • Contrastingly, debt-bondage is mostly males or full families trapped in debt-bondage. Why the gender difference?

  • Bride Price: Are men who pay a bride price any different any different than those who use mail-order bride services?

Causation or correlation
Causation or Correlation?

  • In lecture, Professor Patterson mentioned that factors like polygamy, bride price, warfare and pastoralism are “strongly correlated” with slavery.

  • Is the correlation random or is there any underlying network of causation connecting these factors?


  • Would it be possible to spread a better interpretation of the Koran that does not promote slavery?

    • Faith (3-4)

Hypo bonded labor
Hypo – Bonded Labor

  • In return for your tuition to XYZ university (with no financial), the U.S. Army binds you to 4 years of work with them. You could not have afforded to go otherwise. They send you to some of the worse areas of the world to work, if you leave it’s a dishonorable discharge (meaning it would be hard to find work ever again), you could be arrested for fleeing a war scene, and you need to pay back the military for the cost of tuition.

    • Bonded labor?

Patterson and bonded labor
Patterson and Bonded Labor

  • Patterson definitely takes account of extreme bonded labors into his categorization of slavery

    • Corporeal ownership is such a critical component of slavery

    • Degradation of the slaves must add to an owners prestige

    • Masters of debt laborers are only interested in labor and not in possessing people.

  • When do you believe debt bondage reaches the level of slavery? Or is it always slavery?

    • Julie (3-4)

  • If all types of forced labor are considered slavery, wouldn’t that catalyze activism and change? Is exaggerating the number of “true” slaves worldwide (like Kevin Bales) really that bad?

    • Francesca (3-4)

Bales and bonded labor
Bales and Bonded Labor

Many bonded labors can walk out and are free to go. Patterson claims that while it may take several years, most of them get out of debt bondage after they repay debts or they are rescued. Usually not a long-term relationship.

  • Is this something we should be stopping?

Bonded labor and minimum wage
Bonded Labor and minimum wage

  • It seems that bonded labor, at least in places like India, is very engrained in the culture and way of life. What changes do you think can be made, governmentally or otherwise, to move away from the existence of bonded labor?

    • Jenna (3-4)

  • In India, more than 75% of citizens live on poverty-level incomes of less than two dollars per day. Increasing the minimum wage could alleviate this problem; what issues may arise if the government increases the minimum wage?

    • Elisabeth (3-4)

  • If a very veryvery low minimum wage was installed. Low enough that no one would mind paying, but high enough basically to get people to register their workers in a state department. It seems then it would be possible to regulate abuse and misuse.

    • Will (3-4)

Sharecropping nick 3 4
Sharecropping (Nick 3-4)

  • What is sharecropping?

  • Do you consider it debt bondage or slavery or neither?

  • Should the practice be banned (as it is in the U.S.)?

Forced labor in prisons
Forced Labor in Prisons

  • Private organizations are not allowed to exact profit from prison labor, while state run prisons are not subject to the same provisions.

    • E.g., Re-Education Through Labor (RETL) in China

  • Should we allow prisoners to work while they are in prison?

  • Should we allow prisons to profit from prisoners to pay for holding them?

  • Are the negative stigmas surrounding prison-produced goods alterable? If so, should this stigma be altered or does it exist for good reasons?

    • Mike (3-4)

State sponsored forced labor
State Sponsored Forced Labor

  • Forced labor in Myanmar and in some central Asian countries for development.

  • Should states be allowed to require citizens to perform some labor?

    • What if they can’t pay taxes?

  • Military Draft?

Debt bondage redemption
Debt Bondage Redemption

  • If law enforcement efforts could ensure that producers would not employ any future laborers under a debt bondage system, would it be right to end debt bondage by simply paying off the $4.5 billion total existing debts through international funding? Is it wrong to purchase someone’s freedom if it means an enslaver makes money?

    • Julie (3-4)

Bringing it together
Bringing it Together

  • Most of the readings we did this week referred to ‘debt bondage’ as ‘slavery’, but it is clear Professor Patterson believes debt bondage does not always constitute slavery.

  • Why did he put them in the same week? What is the overlap between slavery and bonded labor?


  • Skinner did research on people from desperately poor fishing villages who voluntarily go work on deep-sea fishing vessels despite the dangerous work. They don’t know that they will be verbally and physically (sometimes sexually) abused. They are bound by a contract that they signed. If they walked away they would end up in financial ruin.


  • What is the most effective means of combating debt slavery, and what is preventing it from being implemented?

    • Dolapo (4-5)