Press Releases and Statements

Colors in Chains

Meeting and a debate on modern slavery With Fodé Sylla (European deputy, President of International Federation SOS Racisme) Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin And some representatives of SOS Esclaves. At the bookshop Artazart in Paris For the publication of issue number 53 Dedicated to slavery

Paris, 27th November, 2002 – Jeanine, 13, is a modern slave. She does the laundry, cleans the house, cooks, washes and feeds the children—and she does it for free. In 1850 in the USA, it would have cost you the equivalent of US$50,000 to buy a slave; now you can get one for less than $100 in countries as far apart as Ghana and Brazil. In India, simply loan someone $20 to leave them indebted (and so enslaved) to you for life, or get a slave for nothing by employing one of today’s more popular methods—just lie. Promise poor women from say, Eastern Europe, good jobs in a foreign country, traffic them to a different one, then lock them in a brothel or threaten them and force them onto the streets.

With half the world’s population living on less than $2 a day, there’s a plentiful supply of potential slaves (which makes them easy to replace if they give you any trouble). And while slavery may be illegal in every country in the world (Mauritania was the last country to abolish it in 1981), it hasn’t disappeared. There are 27 million slaves in the world today.

The COLORS team met enslaved people from Haiti (where Jeanine works as a child domestic slave), Italy, Cambodia and India. We spoke to people who worked hidden away in the apartments and suburban houses of Paris, New York and Hong Kong. We traveled to Sudan where people from the Dinka tribe are abducted by armed militia and taken away to serve them. And we found children forced to marry—or go to war—before they turned 12.

There are slaves in most countries in the world—definitely in yours. And you cannot think that this is no concern of yours: you probably eat, wear or play with products that can be linked to slave labor. You’re implicated in the slave economy, like it or not. Pick up COLORS 53: SLAVERY to find out more.


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