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The Slave Next Door: Human Trafficking and Slavery in America Today [Paperback]

Kevin Bales , Ron Soodalter
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Aug. 23 2010
In this riveting book, authors and authorities on modern day slavery Kevin Bales and Ron Soodalter expose the disturbing phenomenon of human trafficking and slavery that exists now in the United States. In The Slave Next Door we find that slaves are all around us, hidden in plain sight: the dishwasher in the kitchen of the neighborhood restaurant, the kids on the corner selling cheap trinkets, the man sweeping the floor of the local department store. In these pages we also meet some unexpected slaveholders, such as a 27-year old middle-class Texas housewife who is currently serving a life sentence for offences including slavery. Weaving together a wealth of voices—from slaves, slaveholders, and traffickers as well as from experts, counselors, law enforcement officers, rescue and support groups, and others—this book is also a call to action, telling what we, as private citizens, can do to finally bring an end to this horrific crime.

Frequently Bought Together

The Slave Next Door: Human Trafficking and Slavery in America Today + Invisible Chains + Not For Sale: The Return of the Global Slave Trade--and How We Can Fight It
Price For All Three: CDN$ 45.84

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Product Description


“An informative call to action . . . a humane and helpful primer on how to sever the links that create and hide human bondage.”
(Publishers Weekly 2009-05-04)

“Will likely change the way you understand your community.”
(Deborah Fink Friends Journal 2010-05-07)

“Anyone wanting a better understanding of the ongoing problem of slavery in the United States—and their own role in perpetuating or eradicating it—should read this book.”
(Charles Song California Lawyer 2010-01-01)

"Essential reading for anyone interested in human rights. . . . [The authors] appeal to the reader's sense of justice and compassion."
(Tiffany Williams Foreign Policy In Focus 2009-05-18)

"If you read one book on human trafficking this year, make it The Slave Next Door. . . . Digestible, enjoyable, and ultimately uplifting."
( 2009-05-14)

"With the help of this great book . . . we can shift from ignoring this crude reality to [eradicating] this abominable practice."
(African Politics Portal 2009-05-13)

“An arresting volume.”
(History Wire 2009-07-14)

From the Inside Flap

"Once again, Kevin Bales and Ron Soodalter make us confront a tragic reality—there are as many as 27 million people trapped in modern slavery worldwide. In this book, we hear the voices of survivors and those who are fighting every day for freedom."—Congressman John Conyers, Jr., Chair of the House Judiciary Committee

"Most Americans believe that slavery in our country ended with the Emancipation Proclamation. They are wrong. As Kevin Bales and Ron Soodalter document in this excellent volume, human bondage is a reality for thousands of children, women and men living in the United States. The Slave Next Door exposes slavery in today's America in all its forms, and sounds a call to arms to government, corporations, and private citizens alike."—Kerry Kennedy, Founder, Robert F. Kennedy Center for Human Rights

"This is a book to make you angry. From Florida field workers who pick some of the fruits and vegetables we eat to prisoners in China who make desk lamps we can buy at Wal-Mart, Bales and Soodalter show us the manifold ways that unfree labor is woven into the American economy. And, most important, they show us what we can do to stop it."—Adam Hochschild, author of Bury the Chains and King Leopold's Ghost

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read - heartbreaking, but necessary Sept. 17 2012
By VeeGee
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The title says it all: slavery is still a real issue in modern day society. It did not end with the Trans-Atlantic slave trade ending. People are still exploited, stolen and abused for labor, sexual in and around the world today...including the united states! This book will challenge you to be more informed and to remove the blinders that we all put on every day - albeit often unknowingly. The slave next door is a "must-read" for any person interested in social justice/human rights. I am 20 years old and it broke, humbled and encouraged me (at least at the end it was encouraging). I challenge you to read this book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  40 reviews
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitive Work on Slavery in America Today July 12 2009
By Marsha Veit - Published on
With "The Slave Next Door" Bales and Soodalter have written the definitive work for this recently "hot" social issue.
Meticulously researched (over 30 pages of appendices and notes) and compelling, it documents not only the problem but a well thought out plan of action for government, law enforcement and NGOs. The authors also spell out ways for ordinary citizens to do right by their fellow human beings.
This book should be required reading for every legislator, law enforcement officer and religious leader in the country.
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Survey of 21st Century Slavery in U.S. Nov. 14 2009
By Richard Jewell - Published on
I offer my first- and second-year college writing students a number of books from which to write about each semester on the subject of victims of war, and I allow some of these books to be on war-like conditions: after all, events like rape and murder recreate war episodes to victims even if they are not part of a war. Certainly, "The Slave Next Door" qualifies. While its advocacy against human slavery is clear and strong, it maintains an objectivity and seeks to gather facts in great detail to bolster its assertions that (1) slavery is much more common than most of us realize, (2) many of us see or are affected by it each day in the products we use and the culture we experience, and (3) it won't go away easily or soon. The book is, in these regards, somewhat depressing, but at the same time it is filled with narratives of individual illustrative cases that make it a very interesting read.

One of the more worthy facts and illustrative stories in "Slave" is that sex slavery accounts for a smaller part of slavery in the U.S. than docudramas on TV suggest: agricultural, small-business, and even domestic household slavery all are huge businesses. Individual stories are sometimes heartbreaking and often frustrating in their outcomes as public and private agencies fight, often valiantly but with often with little or no useful result, to help men, women, and children who have been grabbed, tricked, or otherwise spun by a web of lies and violence into a world they never wanted or expected and don't know how to handle. The chapters are arranged such that it is quite possible to read and focus on just a few to gain important knowledge on specific aspects of the slave trade in the U.S.

What are the book's weaknesses? It is somewhat repetitive, partly to get its points across and partly, I would assume, from the author's assumption that many people will in fact choose just a few chapters to read. There is also, especially in the final chapters, quite a bit of advocacy for change, not to mention intricate details of state and federal laws, mandates, and organizations, little of which helped or attracted me as a reader. On the other hand, I have to admit I'm glad these details are there--on the record--for individuals and groups who might need them to help create new organizations or projects to fight U.S. slavery. One more wish I had is that even though books like this normally don't have illustrations, I would have enjoyed having photos or even a short photo section of eight to sixteen pages--especially after seeing TV documentaries about such slavery--so that I could see the faces of those who were enslaved and those who enslaved them.

But these are minor concerns. In all, I strongly recommend "Slaves" to anyone interested in the subject.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Gut wrenching information... April 12 2013
By Anna McCall - Published on
Modern slavery and human trafficking are subjects that are near and dear to my heart. Author Kevin Bales is the head of the anti-slavery organization "Free the Slaves," so this book was a natural to go in my reading queue. The information cuts you right to the bone, but the writing is difficult to stay with. Bales is many things, but a writer he is not. You might do just as well to go to the Free the Slaves website and get the information dry.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellently reported and eye opening piece of work. Oct. 6 2010
By John D. Ryan - Published on
A major point reflected in the opening chapters of the book is that slave owners can be anybody. Its a frightening, unfortunate, and true message. The woman who enslaved poor Maria looked like a regular ordernary Texan housewife. It made me want to get up, walk out of my house and individually check every house in America for slaves. After reading this book and learning in what kinds of numbers slavery still exists in the country, you will be inspired to help the writers' cause. you cant ask for more in a book.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars American Slaves May 9 2010
By Michael Griswold - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Most Americans believe that slavery is either dead or something that occurs in far off places to foreign people and thusly does not exist or concern us. Kevin Bales and Ron Soodalter dispels these myths in The Slave Next Door. Through a combination of cold hard facts and personal stories of exploitation, cohesion, and enslavement. Unlike other books that only focus on one aspect of slavery ( like the sex trade), Bales and Soodalter premise is that no form of slavery is justified and talks deeply about systems of agricultural labor, domestics, and sex slavery and argue that the traffickers will continue to find inventive ways to enslave and exploit others. We have a role in the slave system because we get items like hand-woven rugs from India, Pakistan, and Nepal , steel and metals used in cars is obtained from Brazil after the charcoal has been collected by slaves in Brazil and most distressingly we may be eating products produced from slave labor brought to us by America's largest corporations.

Bales and Soodalter further attack the notion that sex trafficking is only a problem for foreign born women in this country by illustrative cases like that of Dennis Paris who used heroin addiction to control several American born, naturalized citizens into a web of prostitution. The last portion of the book is dedicated to an assessment of United States policy towards victims of Modern Day Slavery by going through agency by agency in the federal government and discussing the steps they are taking to combat the problem. One thing that comes out of here is that NGO's that deal with human slavery are hideously under funded and are in desperate need of skilled labor and this is key when he discusses at the end, what we as Americans can do about modern slavery.
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