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Hundreds of children trapped on slave ship
April 16, 2001 10:23 AM   Subscribe

Hundreds of children trapped on slave ship The children, from Benin and neighboring Togo, are thought to be as young as 10 and to have been sold for as little as $15 by their parents. They had apparently been sold to work on cocoa plantations in Ivory Coast...
posted by Dean_Paxton (16 comments total)

 
I'll take two.
posted by bondcliff at 10:25 AM on April 16, 2001


i wish that was fiction.
posted by th3ph17 at 10:34 AM on April 16, 2001


Amazingly unfunny, bondcliff.
posted by starvingartist at 10:35 AM on April 16, 2001


This is a tragedy. But it is nothing new. Sadly, on the most part, America has simply choosen to ignore those enslaved in Africa.

Wrote Walter Williams: Only recently, and thankfully so, have mainstream black organizations such as the Congressional Black Caucus and the NAACP taken a stand against chattel slavery in Mauritania and Sudan. At one time Minister Louis Farakhan simply denied that his brother Muslims could perpetrate such an injustice, but now he's quietly accepted the evidence. Jesse Jackson remains silent.

Perhaps there can come something positive out of this horrible slave ship trap after all. A new-found interest for autrocities committed on African soil by Africans...

For more information about slavery in Africa today, by the way, visit The American Anti-Slavery Group and/or EndSlaveryNow.com. This is an issue too important to be left in the dark.
posted by frednorman at 10:47 AM on April 16, 2001


Here's a good website with information on modern slavery:

www.freetheslaves.net/

There is more slavery taking place today than there was during the Atlantic slave trade that brought slaves to America. The fact this article is about children will get the most press, but don't forget that there are 27 million other people in slavery right now.
posted by y6y6y6 at 10:53 AM on April 16, 2001


thanks for the excellent links.
posted by th3ph17 at 10:54 AM on April 16, 2001


 Wow, I'm really glad my brain doesn't work like bondcliff's.

 "People who are drinking cocoa or coffee are drinking their blood," said Sali Kante, the director of Save the Children in Mali. "It is the blood of young children carrying cocoa sacks so heavy that they have wounds all over. It's pitiful to see."

This article is definitely the most depressing thing I will read today. Fortunately you can buy Fair Trade/Equal Exchange coffee where I live.
Also this article is an example of good work done by the U.N.
posted by chrismc at 10:58 AM on April 16, 2001


I went to the web site that claimed but offered no substantiating materials that there are now 27 million slaves in the world. The West coast of Africa was cited for a case of a poor young child who worked as a clave to get chocolate for us to enjoy. When I hit the link, I was told I could help to end slavery by sending money.
Ok. How does the money I send free the slaves?
I know there is at least one organization that frees slaves in Mauritania by buy them up and then freeing them.
But any number of people have noted that this creates a nice market to capture more slaves merely to sell them to kindly people interested in ending slavery.
posted by Postroad at 11:10 AM on April 16, 2001


don't forget cellphones and internecine warfare in the congo.
posted by kliuless at 11:33 AM on April 16, 2001


bondcliff, that was funny, in a sad sort of way.

What I want to know is what kind of a parent, no matter how poor, would willingly sell their child into slavery. That's just messed up.
posted by Witold at 11:54 AM on April 16, 2001


But any number of people have noted that this creates a nice market to capture more slaves merely to sell them to kindly people interested in ending slavery.

See, for instance, this article on Sudanese slavery. I remember reading a Baltimore Sun story in 1996 (when two African-American reporters went to Sudan and bought a slave) and being utterly shocked that a slave trade still existed in Africa.

From what I've read on the subject, most Mauritanian slaves are not captured but are born into slavery; many are technically free, complicating the issue further. This website on Mauritanian slavery gives figures of 90,000 slaves and 300,000 freed slaves who continue, basically, to serve as slaves.

Fred wrote: Perhaps there can come something positive out of this horrible slave ship trap after all. A new-found interest for autrocities committed on African soil by Africans... And part of the problem -- in Mauritania, at least -- is that the slaveholders tend to self-identify as Arabs, while the slaves tend to be non-Muslim blacks. It's an ethnic and religious division (which has to do, I believe, with the Islamic injunction against keeping copractitioners as slaves as well as Mauritanian culture; slavery only became illegal in the 1980's).

Postroad, poking about for a bit on my lunch break, I found an American Friends Service Committee article; it sounds like there's very little that one can do individually in terms of direct action, but I'd suggest contacting the AFSC or another group to see what you can do and what programs your donation would support. I plan on doing the same.
posted by snarkout at 12:00 PM on April 16, 2001


Ah, but never fear, the Rev. Al "I Could Be Jesse if You'd Let Me" Sharpton will those save poor little children...
posted by m.polo at 2:06 PM on April 16, 2001


Does anyone know if the interdiction of this slave ship will drive up the price of Nikes?
posted by keithl at 2:55 PM on April 16, 2001


As much as Rev. Al Sharpton grates my nerves, I've got to give him some kind of credit for going to Sudan and trying to do something, regardless of what it may turn out to be in the end.

On an only slightly sarcastic note, I'm surprised he hasn't made much more of a ruckus about this whole situation.
posted by sarajflemming at 3:42 PM on April 16, 2001


As snarkout says, most of these children are born into slavery: their indentured labour is, in essence, to "pay off the debts" of their parents. Imagine having your children taken away for not being able to make your monthly bills, and it might bring home the horror of the situation.
posted by holgate at 6:15 PM on April 16, 2001


No kids on slave ship. Perhaps they were dumped at sea? Eesh.
posted by jessamyn at 11:53 PM on April 16, 2001


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