I went to a talk on human trafficking in my county the other night, a few months after I went to an eye-opening debriefing at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. The bottom line is it’s part of the international and local cultural fabric we function within every day. We have sex and labor slaves in our neighborhoods, at the mall and along our roadways. And one of our recent purchases – like a cheap dress or a chocolate bar – may well have capitalized the trade.
Slave trading is hardwired into the receding economic paradigm that fundamentally values people by a very narrow set of parameters. People are trafficked along drug routes but the payoff is much better for the dealer because once a quantity of drugs is sold, more supply has to be produced and transported. But humans can be sold many times over for long periods of time. Slavery has its place in modern Capitalism.
Because it doesn’t factor in wellbeing, business-as-usual misses the most important drivers of prosperity. New Paradigm leadership accounts for cultural capital and that opens up a much wider spectrum of outcomes. Slavery is a cultural virus that is in the DNA of the old profit-at-any-cost paradigm. The injustices of slavery can’t be solved only by abolishing routes and traders. The model of a New Paradigm gives us ground to evolve toward contextualizing slavery as a historical reference. It’s not about fixing the slavery problem, it’s about a New Paradigm ground of being that simply can’t accommodate slavery’s roots.