By: Elizabeth (E-Beth) Leach


             Slavery: the state of a person who is a chattel for another.

For centuries, slavery has existed in the form of abusive relationships where one gains financial or material benefits at the expense of the other’s livelihood. One of the most infamous global practices of slavery was that of the Transatlantic Slave Trade between the 16th and 19th centuries. The Transatlantic Slave Trade was the second and largest component of the Triangular Trade Route that sought to bring high profits to Europeans through the means of exploiting those humans with a different skin color. The first leg of the Triangular Trade Route consisted of western Europeaners sailing to the west coast of Africa with weaponry and other manufactured goods and trading them for the native people. As part of the second leg of the route, 17 million Africans were forcibly removed from their homes, stripped of their identity, and shipped to the Americas to work. The third leg consisted of the traders returning to Europe with raw goods such as sugar, spices, and cotton and selling them to continue making profit. The ethnically charged hierarchy so called “master-and-slave” have affected the social interactions between people of different races for generations. Slavery and its cruel treatment and immoral judgements of people has resulted in today’s phenomenon of social and economic inequalities. The impact slavery has on today’s society is evident in the dichotomous relationship between “us” and “them.” This kind of racial discrimination is omnipresent and is a leading cause for human rights violations.

             Discrimination: the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex.

Racism. Racial discrimination. Xenophobia. These are three of the world’s most severe threats to equal human rights. Combined, they construct the harmful practice of discrimination against minority groups such as migrants, refugees, women, and especially people of color. There are different forms of discrimination such as verbal or written hate speech in the media, prejudice against people with disabilities, violence against women and minority groups, and the practice of slavery. During the Transatlantic Slave Trade, the European traders orchestrated a profitable system that ultimately diminished the existence of the African people in exchange for liquid concessions and power. Although the exploitation of people is a serious violation of human rights, it is still in existence due to blatant perpetration and corrupt legal systems. Slavery is officially illegal in most states around the world, however, some cases of slavery still exist in parts of the world. The prohibition of slavery is seen as a detriment to state economies. Modern slavery exists in the form of human trafficking, forced debt labor, child marriage, and more. This constant discrimination causes social divides and economic inequalities. The impact slavery has on today’s society is evident in the dichotomous relationship between “us” and “them.” Racial discrimination is omnipresent and is a leading cause for human rights violations.

             Ignorance: lack of knowledge or information.

Ignorance contributes to the issue of discrimination that significantly affects access to professional opportunities, ability to roam freely sans harassment, and availability of material needs. It allows for the continuation of harmful acts from and against society, as society can oftentimes turn a blind eye to the needs of those they deem as “lesser than.” To deny slavery is to deny past and present institutional injustice and inhumanity. To ignore acts of discrimination is to admit ones uneducated stance on racism, racial discrimination, and xenophobia. The evidence of ignorance is seen in people, government bodies, and even media platforms. In fact, media platforms continue racial discrimination through hate speech against minority groups, delivery of false information related to racial conflict, and expressions of bias opinions about certain ethnic groups. Whether pertaining to today’s issues of racism or the Transatlantic Slave Trade, they are ultimately intertwined by the neglection of equal human rights, monetary motivation, and abhorrent treatment of people. Today, there is a sincere need for global awareness of the causes and effects of slave trade.

             Advocacy: public support for or recommendation of a particular cause or policy.