New Slavery

A Reference Handbook, 2nd Edition

by Kevin Bales


Many people assume slavery was eliminated long ago, yet forced labor continues to provide Western countries with such everyday items as chocolate, coffee, and textiles. Over 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, slavery remains widespread, with an estimated 27 million slaves worldwide. This exposé is essential reading for all concerned with human rights and labor standards, both at home and overseas.

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Cover image for New Slavery

July 2005


Pages 273
Volumes 1
Size 6x9
Topics Current Events and Issues/Society
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A shocking account of how slavery continues to afflict millions around the world today—from children in the carpet trade in Asia, to immigrants forced into prostitution in Europe, to domestic workers in the United States and other Western countries.

New Slavery: A Reference Handbook is as scholarly as it is shocking—a gripping account of modern slavery, from Pakistan to Paris, Nepal to New York. From bonded laborers in India and prostitutes in Thailand to illegal domestic workers in Kuwait, Tokyo, and London, this book surveys the grim and violent world of contemporary forced labor, human trafficking, and slavery.

More commonly associated with the horrors of 19th-century cotton plantations or Nazi concentration camps, slave labor remains alive and well. Despite antislavery laws in almost every country, slavery today is booming— fueled by poverty, war, organized crime, and globalization. This book is both a serious study and an essential guide for policy makers, human rights lawyers, labor activists, and all those concerned with the ongoing fight against this timeless evil.


  • Firsthand accounts from freed slaves and antislavery activists, with extracts from key UN documents on slavery
  • Chronology covering slavery from the dawn of civilization to the modern era, focusing especially on slavery over the last 50 years


  • Summarizes the key debates and controversies within the antislavery movement—e.g., is it morally right to buy slaves in order to grant them their freedom?
  • Explores the economic and political factors behind the modern boom in slavery, forced labor, and human trafficking
  • Examines the continued appeal of America to those engaged in the modern slave trade
Series Description

Contemporary World Issues

This award-winning series offers comprehensive, one-volume reference handbooks on important topics related to health, education, the environment, and social and ethical issues.

24-hour cable news. Millions of Internet sites. Information overload. How can we sort through the information? Assess the analyses? Trust the sources?

A world of questions demands a library of answers. Contemporary World Issues covers the controversial topics that students, readers, and citizens want to read about, write about, and know more about.


  • Subject coverage spans six main categories:
  • Each volume offers a rich array of resources:
  • A background and history essay that provides essential context and grounding for further study
  • A balanced summary of ongoing controversies and proposed solutions that show numerous paths for further research on pressing, contemporary questions
  • A forum of authoritative perspective essays by experts, offering a broad spectrum of arguments on the issues
  • Carefully selected annotated documents, tables, and graphs that supports statistical literacy and investigation of primary sources
  • A chronology of events, legislation, and movements that place events in sequence and draw connections between them
  • Annotated lists of print, Web, and multimedia resources that power the next steps for in-depth research
  • Profiles of key players and organizations
  • A glossary of key terms
Author Info

Kevin Bales, Ph.D., is president of Free the Slaves, the American sister organization of London-based Anti-Slavery International, and professor of sociology at University of Roehampton, London, England. His published works include Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy.



"New Slavery: A Reference Handbook should not only raise awareness and understanding about contemporary slavery, but should also act as a catalyst for change. This book is highly recommended for public, academic, and high school libraries."American Reference Books Annual

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