October 24th, 2020

Slave labour still in use in North America


By Letter to the Editor on October 14, 2020.

Slavery applies the principle of property to people: individuals may own, buy or sell other individuals. Throughout history prominent societies and religions bore its evil stamp. The Bible has long been invoked as justification by Christian slave owners, including those in North America.

In the United States slavery remains legal. The 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution 1865 abolished slavery and involuntary servitude except as punishment for conviction of a crime. Southern states quickly capitalized upon that exception by contriving new criminal laws for loitering and vagrancy, ensuring a steady supply of prison slave labour. And prison slaves make ideal workers; no complaints, wages, benefits, pensions, holidays, overtime, sick days or safety rules.

Today almost all U.S. prisons are contracted out to private for-profit corporations forming a lucrative high-growth industry. From 1970 to 2015 the U.S. prison population exploded 700 per cent to over 2.2 million, highest per-capita in the world – more prisoners, higher profits.

Gifted by free labour, prison contractors have established in-prison facilities to supply the external market with inexpensive goods and services. Major corporations sharing windfall profits from prison slave labour include McDonald’s, Starbucks, Walmart, Wendy’s, Caterpillar, Quaker Oats, Mary Kay, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, Revlon, Dell and IBM. In 2013 Corrections Corporations of America, the largest U.S. operator of private prisons with over 81,000 inmates, grossed $1.7 billion in revenue yielding a profit of $300 million.

The Slavery Abolition Act 1834 in Britain ended the wretched two centuries of slavery in the remaining British North American colonies. But in 1966 Canada introduced the temporary foreign worker program, a thinly disguised version of indentured servitude, often termed slavery light. The annual influx of some 50,000 workers from Mexico and the Caribbean tied to specific employers is essential to agribusiness, the nation’s fourth-largest export industry.

Investigations have shown time and again, and yet once more during Covid-19, that these people labour under dangerous intolerable conditions with little access to health and social services, and live in overcrowded squalour with primitive unhygienic facilities, surveillance and controlled entrance and exit.

Guests whom we invite to our country to perform a valuable service should be treated with respect, dignity, and humanity, not racist slavery light.

Owen Holmes

Lethbridge

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JonathanVS

Thanks for the letter; the statistics cited are troubling and demand attention. The incarceration rate in the United States is alarming, especially the incredibly high (high 90s) conviction rate.
It’s true that the Bible has been used (wrongly, I believe) to justify slavery. I also point out that Christians were among those who fought hardest to end slavery (e.g. William Wilberforce).

ewingbt

WOW . . . seriously . . . have you read whole Bible, the New Testament! ?Have been out to local farms how use Mexican workers every year?
Neither I doubt! The New Testament demands we love one another. Read the New Testament, study it and maybe ask some of those Mexican workers in the Lethbridge region if they think they are ‘slaves’.
For the last 5 years I have worked for a major family owned farm that supplies much of the celery, carrots and potatoes for french fries, etc. and got to know the ‘slaves’ as you call them. They are happy, glad to come to Canada for 6 months because they make more in day here than over 10 days down, if not more. Work is hard to find in many areas down there and been able to come here and work is a dream and they go home and the money they make helps support them all year.
They have become friends to many of us! The Christian family I work for treat all their staff like kings and that is why everyone wants to come back every year!
It is shameful that you accuse them, with any truth! Read you Bible, the New Testament! You are spewing falsehoods!
They live in a camp similar to rig camps, and when they arrive now the farms have to put them up in hotels so they have separate rooms to self isolate, paying for all the meals and needs for up to 3 weeks in some cases! Yep . . . that is treating them inhumanely!
Are you really talking about the camps here . . . or in the US!
I know where your bad intel come from . . . not from the Bible or true Christians that know there God!
May God Bless You, with spritual wisdom, understanding and revelation to see the truth!

Last edited 8 days ago by ewingbt


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