Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

According to the report, the U.S. not only has an enormous population of people working under slave-like conditions, it's insatiable culture of consumerism is also one of the premiere drivers of a global economy that fuels the exploitation and enslavement of workers worldwide(Image: Walk Free Foundation)

While Richest Enjoy 'Yachts That Have Tiny Yachts Inside,' Estimated 400,000 People in US Suffering Under 'Modern Slavery'

"This is a truly staggering statistic and demonstrates just how substantial this issue is globally."

Jon Queally

While the nation's richest and most powerful continue to enjoy the unparalleled fruits of a "New Guilded Age"—including those who have "yachts that have tiny yachts inside" them—a new report reveals that an estimated 400,000 people living in the United States live under forced servitude characterized as nothing less than "modern slavery."

According to the 2018 Global Slavery Index, published annually by the Walk Free Foundation, there are over 40 million people worldwide living under such conditions, including "one in every 800" Americans.

"The United  States is one of the most advanced countries in the world yet has more than 400,000 modern slaves working under forced labor conditions," said Andrew Forrest, founder of the Walk Free Foundation. "This is a truly staggering statistic and demonstrates just how substantial this issue is globally."

According to the report, the U.S. not only has an enormous population of people working under slave-like conditions, it's insatiable culture of consumerism is also one of the premiere drivers of a global economy that fuels the exploitation and enslavement of workers worldwide:

Globally, imports were a key driver of modern slavery, with the United  States as the biggest purchaser of goods at-risk of being produced through forced labor, importing  more than $144 billion 1 a year. U. S. consumer demand was key to fueling this supply,  with electronics (laptops, computers, mobile  phones), garments, fish , cocoa and timber the highest value categories of imported items. The U. S. total is three times that of the second-largest G20 importer, Japan ($47bn), and nearly ten times more than its neighbor Canada ($15bn).

This reality of the global crisis, added Forrest, "is only possible through a tolerance of exploitation, demonstrated by the billions of at risk goods being brought to the United States to fuel consumer demand for affordable products."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

... We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'Congress Must Act': Bernie Sanders Demands End of Filibuster to Codify Abortion Rights

"We must pass legislation that codifies Roe v. Wade as the law of the land in this country. And if there aren't 60 votes to do it, and there are not, we must reform the filibuster to pass it with 50 votes."

Jon Queally ·


Human Rights Defenders Warn Biden Border Policy 'Quickly Transforming Into Trump 2.0'

Like his predecessor, President Joe Biden now being accused of "using racist, xenophobic tropes about immigrants to weaponize Covid-19 against migrants and asylum-seekers."

Jon Queally ·


'Bombshell': Israeli Spyware Used to Hack iPhones of US State Department Officials

Calling the Israel-based spyware maker NSO Group an "in-plain-sight national security threat," one expert warned that "a multi-agency investigation is immediately needed."

Jessica Corbett ·


US Progressive Caucus Hails Honduran Election as Chance for 'New Chapter' in Relations

"We encourage the Biden administration to use this opportunity to make a clean break with previous presidential administrations, which worked to ensure that the 2009 coup d'état succeeded."

Brett Wilkins ·


'The Facts of This Case Are So Egregious': Parents of Michigan School Shooter Charged in Killings

"There were a lot of things that could have been so simple to prevent," the Oakland County prosecutor said of the mother and father now being sought by law enforcement.

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo