Tag: slavery

Code Noir

Code Noir was a decree originally passed by France‘s King Louis XIV in 1685 and carried in part over to early slave treatment in America. It outlined conditions of slavery in the French colonial empire – for example in Haiti.  It restricted any religious practice other than Roman Catholicism, and ordered all Jews out of France’s colonies.  Although whites at the time believed that blacks were sub human, by instructing and baptizing in the Catholic faith they acknowledged that they had a soul.

The code has been described by some to be: “one of the most extensive official documents on race, slavery, and freedom ever drawn up in Europe”.

It is easy to read this 300 years later and see the absurdity in it.  A detailed law in slavery?  Teaching religion to a sub-human race that had no rights as “true” humans?  Instructions on treating other humans similar to how we would now treat animals?

But it was the law of the land.  It was accepted.  How could anyone revolt against behavior that was a part of culture, necessary for the economy, and sanctioned by law by the King?

How will our behaviors be judged in 300 years?  What “laws” outlining our behaviors will be judged as outrageous because the underlying behavior is so outrageous?  A mother is prosecuted for murder for not caring for a newborn child while weeks earlier she could legally abort and donate the body parts.  What religious practices will be scorned?  What spiritual beliefs will be embarrassing?  Will we finally have racially mixed church services or will we still be segregated on Sundays?  Will we have grown smarter and more civil or more evil?

Remember that when we say “in the good old days” we are not looking at all people but only the ones who had the power to write the laws.  The TV show “Happy Days” was only happy for the white people – not for blacks who had no rights.

1 John 3:4-5 (NIV)

Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin.


Current day slavery

(Reuters) – Nearly 30 million people are living in slavery across the globe, many of them men, women and children trafficked by gangs for sex work and unskilled labor, according to a global slavery index released on Thursday.

The index by anti-slavery charity Walk Free Foundation ranked 162 countries on the number living in slavery, the risk of enslavement, and the strength of government responses to combating the illegal activity.

It found that 10 countries accounted for 76 percent of the 29.8 million people living in slavery – India, China, Pakistan, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Russia, Thailand, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar and Bangladesh.

Modern slavery was defined as human trafficking, forced labor, and practices such as debt bondage, forced marriage, and the sale or exploitation of children.

Researcher Kevin Bales said he hoped the index, the first annual report to monitor slavery globally, would raise public awareness as numbers were at an all-time high and it would increase pressure on governments to take more action.

He dismissed the view that poverty was the key factor behind slavery and instead blamed corruption, calling for laws to stop organized gangs.

“Consistently when we analyzed the statistics we found that corruption came out as more powerful than poverty in driving slavery,” said Bales, a professor of contemporary slavery at the Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation at the University of Hull in northern England.

“Fundamentally this is a violent crime issue.”

The report found Mauritania in West Africa had the highest number of slaves proportionately, with up to 160,000 enslaved in a population of 3.8 million, due to culturally-sanctioned forms of chattel slavery and high levels of child marriage.

The highest absolute numbers were almost 14 million in slavery in India and 3 million in China.

“By far the largest proportion of this problem (in India) is the exploitation of Indian citizens within India itself, particularly through debt bondage and bonded labor,” said the report.

In China there was forced labor of men, women and children, including domestic servitude and forced begging, sexual exploitation of women and children and forced marriage.

Coming last in the index were Iceland, Ireland and Britain although Bales stressed they were not slavery-free.

Up to 4,400 people are estimated to be enslaved in Britain, the victims mainly from Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe. They are forced into sex work, domestic servitude, or low-paid jobs in agriculture, construction, restaurants and nail salons.

“Hopefully this report will be a wake-up call for rich countries as well,” Bales told Reuters.

(Reporting by Belinda Goldsmith; editing by Andrew Roche)