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The 2007 Chinese slave scandal (simplified Chinese :山西黑砖窑案; traditional Chinese :山西黑磚窯案; pinyin :Shānxī Hēi Zhuān Yáo àn; lit. 'Shanxi Black Brick Kiln incident') was a series of forced labour cases in Shanxi, China. Thousands of Chinese people including many children had been forced to work as slaves in illegal brickyards, and were tortured by the owners of the brickyards. As of June 2007, approximately 550 people have been rescued from such situations.
Shanxi is located in the Loess Plateau in northern China which is known for its rich clay deposits which are easier and cheaper to mine than coal. Through corrupt relationships with officials, slave "bosses" opened illegal brickyards. Due to a scarcity of labor in Shanxi, some factories outsourced production to middlemen who recruited workers from other provinces, making huge profits for the bosses. For example, in one notorious case, it was reported that Wang Bingbing, the son of Wang Dongyi, a secretary of a local CCP branch, was the owner of a brickyard located in Hongdong County, Linfen.The owner outsourced the brickyard to Heng Tinghan, who was from Henan. The brickyard produces 10,000 bricks per day. The market price for 10,000 bricks is about 2,000 to 3,000 yuan; the owner, however, paid only 360 yuan to Heng per 10,000 bricks produced. Wang Bingbing and Heng Tinghan, along with three other employees, including Heng's son, were later charged with a variety of crimes including murder, illegal detention, and forced labor.
The existence of illegal brickyards was first reported to authorities in 1998. On 1 May, Chen Jianjiao, a representative of the Shanxi People's Congress, received a telephone call from a laborer who had escaped from an illegal brickyard. The escaped man also wrote to the chairman of the Shanxi People's Congress. As a result, slave rescue operations were carried out by provincial government authorities without notifying local officials. Over 150 slaves, three of them child laborers, were freed from these illegal brickyards. Chen Jianjiao himself was responsible for helping to free hundreds of them.
There have been continuing reports of cruelty committed at these illegal brickyards since 2004. On 7 May 2007, Henan TV Metro Channel reported the case of five minors around sixteen years old who had disappeared from the environs of Zhengzhou Railway Station. Having heard of earlier instances of child laborers being kidnapped for brickyards in Shanxi, their parents suspected their children might be found there. Two months later these five were among fifty minors from Henan who were found at an illegal brickyard. Human traffickers had sold them to brickyards for 500 Yuan each. Later in 2011, it was found that the practice had not abated, as disabled men in Zhengzhou were still being kidnapped and forced to labor in the brickyards. The scandal was only uncovered following an undercover investigation.
On 10 May, reporters from Henan Television, accompanied by two parents, visited the sites of some illegal brickyards in Shanxi undercover. Reporters later visited many illegal brickyards in Yuncheng and Jincheng. The conditions they found were clearly those of slavery.
Concealed camera revealed that the local police refused to take action to rescue the slaves. Later the reporters were allowed into the illegal brickyards with the company of the local police. Concealed camera showed the police keeping them from rescuing children who were not from Henan which showed obvious local government protection for the illegal brickyards.
The brickyard owners had purchased laborers from human traffickers to use as slaves. Many of the slaves were sold for CNY300 to CNY400 including delivery. The slaves included children as young as eight years oldand teenagers. Moreover, brickyard owners hired guards and wolfdogs to watch their slaves. These slaves were forced to work over sixteen hours every day and any mistakes were punished by brutal torture.
One teenager who was rescued from an illegal brickyard said that, during his slavery, he had been taken to another brickyard by his boss to watch another slave being fed to a meat grinder.
As the scandal received immediate media attention, it also caught the eyes of the country's major leaders, including President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao. Governor Yu Youjun of Shanxi province offered an unprecedented self-criticism, took responsibility, and tendered his resignation on 30 August. He was replaced by Meng Xuenong, an official who had been sacked as Beijing mayor after the SARS outbreak.
In June and July 2007, 570 people in Shanxi and Henan were freed by the Chinese government.Of those rescued, sixty-nine of them were children. In response, the Chinese government assembled a force of 35,000 police to check northern Chinese brickyards for slaves, sent dozens of brickyard supervisors to prison, punished ninety-five low level officials in Shanxi province for dereliction of duty, and sacked twenty-four. One brickyard foreman, Heng Tinghan, was sentenced to life in prison, and an employee of his, Zhao Tanbing, earned the death penalty for killing a mentally handicapped slave.
Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave, who is someone forbidden to quit their service for an enslaver, and who is treated by the enslaver as their property. Slavery typically involves the enslaved person being made to perform some form of work while also having their location dictated by the enslaver. Historically, when people were enslaved, it was often because they were indebted, or broke the law, or suffered a military defeat. The duration of their enslavement might be for life, or for a fixed period of time after which their freedom was granted. Individuals, then, usually became slaves involuntarily, due to force or coercion, although there was also voluntary slavery to pay a debt or obtain money for some purpose. In the course of human history, slavery was a typical feature of civilization, and legal in most societies, but it is now outlawed in all countries of the world, except as punishment for crime.
Debt bondage, also known as debt slavery, bonded labour, or peonage, is the pledge of a person's services as security for the repayment for a debt or other obligation, where the terms of the repayment are not clearly or reasonably stated, and the person who is holding the debt thus has some control over the laborer. Freedom is assumed on debt repayment. The services required to repay the debt may be undefined, and the services' duration may be undefined, thus allowing the person supposedly owed the debt to demand services indefinitely. Debt bondage can be passed on from generation to generation.
Slavery in the United States was the legal institution of human chattel slavery, comprising the enslavement primarily of Africans and African Americans, that existed in the United States of America from its founding in 1776 until the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865. Slavery was established throughout European colonization in the Americas. From 1526, during early colonial days, it was practiced in Britain's colonies, including the Thirteen Colonies which formed the United States. Under the law, an enslaved person was treated as property and could be bought, sold, or given away. Slavery lasted in about half of U.S. states until 1865. As an economic system, slavery was largely replaced by sharecropping and convict leasing.
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Peon usually refers to a person subject to peonage: any form of wage labor in which a laborer (peon) has little control over employment conditions. Peon and peonage can refer to both the colonial period and post-colonial period of Latin America as well as the period after the end of slavery in the United States, when "Black Codes" were passed to retain African American freedmen as labor through other means.
Forced labour, or unfree labour, is any work relation, especially in modern or early modern history, in which people are employed against their will with the threat of destitution, detention, violence including death, compulsion, or other forms of extreme hardship to either themselves or members of their families.
A plantation economy is an economy based on agricultural mass production, usually of a few commodity crops grown on large farms called plantations. Plantation economies rely on the export of cash crops as a source of income. Prominent crops included cotton, rubber, sugar cane, tobacco, figs, rice, kapok, sisal, and species in the genus Indigofera, used to produce indigo dye.
James Warren English was an American politician, bank president, and a staff officer during the American Civil War. He was a postbellum mayor of Atlanta, Georgia, from 1881 until 1883.
Japan had an official slave system from the Yamato period until Toyotomi Hideyoshi abolished it in 1590. Afterwards, the Japanese government facilitated the use of "comfort women" as sex slaves from 1932 – 1945. Prisoners of war captured by the Japanese were also used as slaves during the Second World War.
Slavery in colonial California began with the systematic enslavement of indigenous Californians. The arrival of the Spanish colonists introduced chattel slavery and involuntary servitude to the area. White colonists from the Southern and Eastern United States brought their systems of organized slavery to California.
Slavery in Brazil began long before the first Portuguese settlement was established in 1516, with members of one tribe enslaving captured members of another. Later, colonists were heavily dependent on indigenous labor during the initial phases of settlement to maintain the subsistence economy, and natives were often captured by expeditions called bandeiras. The importation of African slaves began midway through the 16th century, but the enslavement of indigenous peoples continued well into the 17th and 18th centuries.
Contemporary slavery, also sometimes known as modern slavery or neo-slavery, refers to institutional slavery that continues to occur in present-day society. Estimates of the number of slaves today range from around 38 million to 46 million, depending on the method used to form the estimate and the definition of slavery being used. The estimated number of slaves is debated, as there is no universally agreed definition of modern slavery; those in slavery are often difficult to identify, and adequate statistics are often not available. The International Labour Organization estimates that, by their definitions, over 40 million people are in some form of slavery today. 24.9 million people are in forced labor, of whom 16 million people are exploited in the private sector such as domestic work, construction or agriculture; 4.8 million persons in forced sexual exploitation, and 4 million persons in forced labor imposed by state authorities. 15.4 million people are in forced marriage.
Taiwan is primarily a destination for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. It is also a source of women trafficked to Japan, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Women and girls from the People's Republic of China (P.R.C.) and Southeast Asian countries are trafficked to Taiwan through fraudulent marriages, deceptive employment offers, and illegal smuggling for sexual exploitation and forced labor. Many trafficking victims are workers from rural areas of Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines, employed through recruitment agencies and brokers to perform low skilled work in Taiwan’s construction, fishing, and manufacturing industries, or to work as domestic servants. Such workers are often charged high job placement and service fees, up to $14,000, resulting in substantial debt that labor brokers or employers use as a tool for involuntary servitude. Many foreign workers remain vulnerable to trafficking because legal protections, oversight by authorities and enforcement efforts are inadequate. Taiwan authorities reported that traffickers continued to use fraudulent marriages to facilitate labor and sex trafficking, despite increased efforts by the authorities to prevent this practice. Some women who are smuggled onto Taiwan to seek illegal work were sometimes sold in auctions to sex traffickers, and subsequently forced to work in the commercial sex industry. NGOs reported a sharp increase during the reporting period in the number of boys rescued from prostitution, mainly discovered during police investigations of online social networking sites suspected of being front operations for prostitution rings.
The 1842 Slave Revolt in the Cherokee Nation was the largest escape of a group of slaves to occur in the Cherokee Nation, in what was then Indian Territory. The slave revolt started on November 15, 1842, when a group of 20 African-American slaves owned by the Cherokee escaped and tried to reach Mexico, where slavery had been abolished in 1829. Along their way south, they were joined by 15 slaves escaping from the Creek Nation in Indian Territory.
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Debt bondage in India or Bandhua Mazdoori was legally abolished in 1976 but remains prevalent due to weak enforcement by the government. Bonded labour is a system in which lenders force their borrowers to repay loans through labor. Additionally, these debts often take a large amount of time to pay off and are unreasonably high, propagating a cycle of generational inequality. This is due to the typically high interest rates on the loans given out by employers. Although debt bondage is considered to be a voluntary form of labor, people are forced into this system by social situations.
An overview of Asian slavery which has existed in all regions of Asia throughout its history. Although slavery has been abolished in every Asian country, some forms of it still exist today.
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Slavery in ancient Egypt existed since the Old Kingdom. Discussions of slavery in Pharaonic Egypt are complicated by terminology used by the Egyptians to refer to different classes of servitude over the course of dynastic history. Interpretation of the textual evidence of classes of slaves in ancient Egypt has been difficult to differentiate by word usage alone. There were three types of enslavement in Ancient Egypt: chattel slavery, bonded labor, and forced labor. But even these types of slavery are susceptible to individual interpretation based on evidence and research. Egypt's labor culture is represented by many men and women, and it is difficult to claim their social status into one category.
The history of forced labor in the United States encompasses to all forms of unfree labor which have occurred within the present day borders of the United States through modern times. "Unfree labor" is a generic or collective term for those work relations, in which people are employed against their will by the threat of destitution, detention, violence, lawful compulsion, or other extreme hardship to themselves or to members of their families.