Yesterday we went to an exhibit at Liverpool’s International Slavery Musem. The exhibit explores the story of transatlantic slavery, the tragedy of more than 12 million Africans forcibly taken from their countries to support the tea, sugar, tobacco, rice, and cotton industries in the Americas.
The “middle passage” triangle, as it’s called, involved the forced removal of people from their locations throughout Africa, with their purchase paid for by goods from Europe; their transport on ships across the Atlantic to places throughout the Americas; the trip back across the Atlantic with the raw materials to sell in Europe; and the investment of huge sums of money from the sale of these raw materials. Three continents were involved: Africa, with the labor; the Americas, with the development of raw materials; and Europe, with the capital investment in ships and human resources to sustain this trade.
For more than 400 years, human slave labor developed and sustained the economies of many countries.
Liverpool was a hub in this slave trade because of its dominance in trans-Atlantic shipping.
The exhibit also highlights the slave trade today, the thousands and thousands of men, women, and children who are trafficked for labor or sexual exploitation here in England, in the US, and throughout the world. Slavery didn’t end in the UK with the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 or in the US with the Civil War. The estimates are that more than 100,000 people are trafficked into the US every year and similar numbers into the UK. This is the world’s fastest-growing form of organized crime and one of the most lucrative.
World Without Genocide has offered several programs about human trafficking. Check our website for similar events this fall.