How to combat modern slavery: Kevin Bales on TED.com

Posted by: Emily McManus

In this moving yet pragmatic talk, Kevin Bales explains the business of modern slavery, a multibillion-dollar economy that underpins some of the worst industries on earth. He shares stats and personal stories from his on-the-ground research — and names the price of freeing every slave on earth right now. (Recorded at TED2010, February 2010 in Long Beach, CA. Duration: 18:01)

Watch Kevin Bales’ talk on TED.com, where you can download this TEDTalk, rate it, comment on it and find other talks and performances from our archive of 600+ TEDTalks.

Comments (5)

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  • Fazlı Fatih Melemez commented on Oct 24 2010

    what a great talk, i dont think that does matter whether the number of slaves is 27million or less/more. Critical point is what we can do to terminate it and what we’re doing now as humanity. of course there is a bloody system in some countries which Mr. Bales counted. but the point is, while there is such a bad and humiliating system out there,whatever we say caste or something another, why rest of the world’s governments and NGO’s are not doing anything to cut it out ? Of course somebody might say those are fighting with it but get no satisfactory result eventhough struggling too much. Oh, come on, who can take this question seriously! We ‘re living in the world that countries going to wars to bring democracy where they want. We’re living in such a world that United Nations and some other global organizations supports some newly founded religious orders(i mean scientology here, i know this because i was one of them). I know something that creating and powering a NGO to struggle against to this modern slavery is definitely easier and more important than going to a war in middle east or anywhere.

    Kevin Bales has taken a major role about this issue. I hope, we as people which care others unless looking at their living conditions and not accepting their conditions as reality, one day earn bravery as much as Baley and his friends to help them in this blessed way.

  • ida shine commented on Mar 30 2010

    kevin bales gives a exellent talk about slaves.He particularly noticed all countries. there are millon slaves today.he specially cares about slavery.slavery are generally all coountries.but in africa the percentage is more compared to other countries.When we go to temple we pray to God to protect us.Slaves arise due to the problem of poverty, unemployment,population,unresources.slaves are forced to work without payment,they cannot move anywhere because of not having the money.we want to help in their situation.slaves are human undigestable things.kevin blas also briefly explain about the punishment to slaves.it was so pathetic condition.they do not have medicine to apply in wounded areas.human which are cruel who has no heart can treat slaves like this.kevin kindly address that we should help slaves.we should try to treat all the humans equaly as possible.He easily narrate his topic as understandable.he use a high level english .the way he communicate is exellent.the speech is sweet

  • Kirstin Aultman commented on Mar 29 2010

    This talk is enjoyable in that it sheds light on an issue that, as Bales shares, even he was unaware of. Many people are unaware of and in subsequent disbelief upon finding out, that slavery in the modern era does exist. However, despite the good that this talk does bring about, I take up several issues with it. My biggest concern is where he came across the figure of 27 million slaves. Slaves don’t have documentation and aren’t filed under government reports – where did that figure come from? Secondly, many of the cultures that Bales looked into depend upon the work that we see as slavery, even if in our Westernized minds it’s wrong, from a cultural stand-point, for many of our fellow humans, it’s a way of life. I take extreme issue with the example of the three Indian generations born into slavery – it’s called the caste system, and despite our problems with it, it works for them and it’s not going to change any time soon. Bales needs more research to be credible in my eyes.

    • Michael Hennig commented on Mar 30 2010

      A riveting and important talk and certainly one to be shared. Ms. Aultman’s comment, I’m afraid, stands as a clear and direct illustration of how fundamentally misguided relativistic thinking is and is exactly the type of counterproductive way of thinking that facilitates some of the most unconscionable crimes of our or any time.

      Perhaps the same might have been said of the culture of the American South in the 18th and 19th centuries. Who are we question a practice that the local culture so obviously condones?

      There are some things that stand above our compulsion to be sensitive to other cultures. Human rights, human dignity, and freedom must certainly be counted among them.