עֲבָדִים הָיִינוּ לְפַרְעֹה בְּמִצְרָֽיִם. וַיּוֹצִיאֵֽנוּ יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מִשָּׁם, בְּיָד חֲזָקָה וּבִזְרֽוֹעַ נְטוּיָה, וְאִלּוּ לֹא הוֹצִיא הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא אֶת־אֲבוֹתֵֽינוּ מִמִּצְרַֽיִם, הֲרֵי אָֽנוּ וּבָנֵינוּ וּבְנֵי בָנֵינוּ, מְשֻׁעְבָּדִים הָיִינוּ לְפַרְעֹה בְּמִצְרָֽיִם.
We were slaves to Pharoah in Egypt. And God took us out from there with a strong hand and outstretched arm. If God had not redeemed our ancestors from Egypt, then we, along with our children and all future generations, would still be slaves to Pharoah in Egypt.
If we were still slaves today, what would we be doing? In the 21st century slaves no longer lug bricks out in the hot sun under openly brandished whips.
But according to the International Labor Organization, as of 2016 about 40 million people worldwide were being held in slavery. Slavery today is of many different types, and often disguised in ways that make it difficult for us to recognize.
Modern Slavery & The United States
Hard Labor Slavery
Hard labor slavery is when someone is forced to do hard labor by threats of punishment and is unable to leave. This happens most often in places where people are very poor, lack jobs or education, and there is corruption and weak rule of law. Much of the pet food sold in the United States is produced by slave labor on fishing boats in Thailand.
Domestic slavery is when live in help is held in an exploitative arrangement in which the worker becomes completely dependent on the employer and has no freedom to leave. Live in help from other countries, unfamiliar with our language and laws, are particularly vulnerable. They are easily isolated, and authorities cannot inspect homes as easily as regular work places.
The United States offers a variety of guest worker visas employers use to fill jobs that they cannot find American workers to do. Once in the United States, workers are completely dependent on their employer.
Human Rights Haggadah Blog
The United States has 5% of the world’s population, but houses approximately 25% of the world’s prisoners. The confinement of such a vast number of