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Slaves in a ship.

A slave is someone who is not free but belongs to another person. A slave is owned like a thing or an animal is owned, and can be sold also. The owner of a slave is usually forcing the slave to work hard. Slaves also live poorly and are beaten.

History[edit | edit source]

In history we often see that a country found it okay that the people there could own slaves. Slaves lived for example in the Roman Empire and in the southern states of the United States of America.[1]

People could become a slave in three ways:

  • Some had a debt which they could not pay. Instead of paying back, they became the slave of the person to whom they owned the money.
  • Others became slaves during war: often, the winners in a war took the losers as slaves.
  • Many slaves have never been free but were born as slaves.

Some slave owners allowed slaves to have families, or to save money of their own. If a slave had saved a lot of money, he could pay for his own freedom.

Modern slavery[edit | edit source]

Although the United Nations have made slavery illegal, slavery is still alive today, with more than 21 million slaves in the world.[2]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. See Slavery in the USA.
  2. What is modern slavery?, homepage of Anti-Slavery International.
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