Latest modern slavery fight updates -

U.S. practices “one of the most egregious forms of modern slavery”

  • Published on
    May 26, 2023
  • News Source Image
  • Category:
    Forced Labor, Law & Policy, Prison slavery
Hero Banner

The latest Global Slavery Index released by the NGO Walk Free has placed the United States among the group of countries with the greatest number of people living in modern slavery. The U.S. is also only 1 of only 17 countries with state-imposed forced labor – one of the “most egregious” forms of modern slavery, according to Walk Free.

“Most egregious”

The report notes that, “It is among the most egregious forms of modern slavery as it involves states not only failing in their duty to safeguard human rights, but actively using their power to perpetrate abuse.”

The Hill reports,

The U.S. is 1 of only 17 countries in the world that uses state-imposed forced labor, a form of “modern slavery,” according to a new report from an international human rights group.

Walk Free’s Global Slavery Index 2023 placed the U.S. among the small group of nations — which also includes China, North Korea and Russia — over its use of compulsory prison labor.

The report noted the 13th Amendment includes a caveat that allows involuntary servitude to be used as punishment for a crime.

Anti-slavery stance undermined

The 13th Amendment states, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” These 14 words have provided for a legal form of slavery in the U.S. since the Thirteenth Amendment’s ratification in 1865.

The report is clear that, while the U.S. has the fifth highest government response score on tackling modern slavery globally, it is overall undermined by its state imposed forced labor laws. It also notes that the US has largest rate of imprisonment, therefore that the risk of state imposed forced labor is very concerning.

The U.S. does take a strong stance against state imposed forced labor – elsewhere. In 2022, the country passed model legislation banning the import of goods tied to the Uyghur Region of China that other countries are being urged to emulate.

Join the movement

The height of hypocrisy,” say American anti-slavery activists.

This year, advocates in several states are gearing up to make change happen to outlaw slavery explicitly once and for all. We’re right there with them support state level action while moving towards a federal change to the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Together with partners like Walk Free, our community is demanding all states and the federal government to explicitly outlaw slavery and involuntary servitude as punishment for a crime in the U.S. and state constitutions.

Join us in calling for an end to the Punishment Clause in the United States!


Freedom United is interested in hearing from our community and welcomes relevant, informed comments, advice, and insights that advance the conversation around our campaigns and advocacy. We value inclusivity and respect within our community. To be approved, your comments should be civil.

stop icon A few things we do not tolerate: comments that promote discrimination, prejudice, racism, or xenophobia, as well as personal attacks or profanity. We screen submissions in order to create a space where the entire Freedom United community feels safe to express and exchange thoughtful opinions.

Notify of
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Charles David Foulstone
Charles David Foulstone
11 months ago

I’m sorry, but I see no reason why a convicted prisoner should not be required to “work for his living” whilst in prison. The work should be within their ability and should be rewarded, possibly with privileges they wouldn’t normally have, or maybe the payment could be in the form of compensation to a victim of the crime.

11 months ago

Why are you focusing on this trivial issue? There isn’t “forced labor”, if they do work it is something like mowing or picking up trash – boo hoo. What about the women and children who are illegally enslaved for sex or work in factories.

Ron Warrick
Ron Warrick
11 months ago

Forced labor as punishment seems to me a much different thing than slavery.

Margaret Dungan
Margaret Dungan
11 months ago

An atrocious practice and abuse of power. Greedy people, who have no compassion, or care for their fellow companions in life. Governments forget that THEY ARE THE SERVANTS OF THE PEOPLE and the people do not want this practice to continue, anywhere in this world.

11 months ago

Totally agree with this article; we should include the ICE detention centers, which are private and very profitable “business” exploiting undocumented and documented Immigrants!!!!!

This week

Rounded up and abandoned: Europe’s covert support of migrant atrocities

It is well documented that inhumane immigration policies are forcing migrants to take extremely risky routes on their journey to seek asylum in Europe and globally. However, a year-long investigation by the Washington Post, Lighthouse Reports, and a consortium of international media outlets uncovered that migrant lives are not just at risk due to sketchy channel crossings and being packed in the back of refrigerator trucks. To dissuade sub-Saharan

| Wednesday May 22, 2024

Read more