Slavery in the Modern World
A History of Political, Social, and Economic Oppression
by Junius P. Rodriguez, Editor
October 2011, 859pp, 7x10
2 volumes, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-85109-783-8
$191, £142, 160€, A273
eBook Available: 978-1-85109-788-3
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

As shocking as it may seem, slavery is far from a thing of the past. In fact, there are an estimated 27 million victims of modern-day slavery—more than at the height of the Roman Empire or the peak of the Antebellum Era in the South. And by far the majority of those enslaved are society’s most easily marginalized—women, children, and migrants.

This work is the first encyclopedia on the labor practices that constitute modern-day slavery—and the individuals and organizations working today to eradicate them.

Slavery in the Modern World: A History of Political, Social, and Economic Oppression helps bring to light an often-ignored tragedy, opening readers’ eyes to the devastated lives of those coerced into unpaid labor. It is the first and only comprehensive encyclopedia on practices that persist despite the efforts of antislavery advocates, nongovernmental organizations, and national legislation aimed at ending them.

Ranging from the late-19th century to the present, Slavery in the Modern World examines the full extent of unfree labor practices in use today, as well as contemporary abolitionists and antislavery groups fighting these practices and legislative action from various nations aimed at exposing and shutting down slave operations and networks. The 450 alphabetically organized entries are the work of over 125 of the world’s leading experts on modern slavery.


  • 450 entries on slavery practices and antislavery efforts, with coverage of Anti-Slavery International (ASI), Kevin Bales, the Bonded Labor Liberation Front (BLLF), debt bondage, the Laogai system, and more
  • 125 expert contributors from around the world, many among them key players in the fight to stop slave practices
  • 60 primary source documents, including official United Nations documents, antislavery legislation from various nations, and brief autobiographical accounts
  • A chronology highlighting the key events in the development of modern-day slavery
  • Maps, including a global map showing where modern-day slavery persists, and maps of various "hot spots”, including Sudan, Mauritania, Pakistan, China, etc.
  • An exhaustive bibliography guiding readers to the available literature on contemporary slavery
Junius P. Rodriguez, PhD, is associate professor of history at Eureka College, Eureka, IL. His published works include ABC-CLIO's The Historical Encyclopedia of World Slavery and the award-winning The Louisiana Purchase: A Historical and Geographical Encyclopedia.


"This highly focused encyclopedia offers useful source material for those interested in human rights issues in the modern age. It is recommended for the general public and high school students seeking additional information or as a starting point for research."—Library Journal, January 1, 2012

"Rodriguez reminds us in his expansive, enlightening look at more modern forms of exploitation that encompasses more than 27 million individuals, slavery has more of an impact on our own time than at any other time in the past. . . . The variety of primary documents is one of the great strengths of the work, drawing from a rich tapestry of attempts by both governments and the private sector to battle all forms of illegal labor exploitation. . . . Overall, this is a solid work of vast importance that works well in supporting the existing social-science curriculum and could become a go-to resource for AP classes addressing the socioeconomic issues that arise in the era of globalization."—Booklist, February 15, 2012
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