In many cultures, irrespective of continent, modernization meant that formal institutions of slavery metamorphosed into quasi-legal slaveries, , , neo-feudal seigneurial arrangements, mass public penal servitude (labor drafts, ), , debt slavery, , and ever-more inventive forms of industrial wage and non-waged slavery. The concepts of 'slave' and 'slavery' themselves became ambiguous, such that formal legal bans on slavery could be imposed and cited as evidence of social progress, yet parallel replacement systems arose that enforced the same racial, gender, and class hierarchies. As the number of formal institutional slaveries diminished, informal neo-slaveries rose to replace older systems. In the first years of the twenty-first century, these neo-slaveries have become more powerful, blatant, and inescapable of public notice. Now no season of Law & Order: SVU is complete without a show focusing on Romanian sex slaves or smuggled Chinese immigrants doing forced sweatshop labor.
Cynthia Hoffman and Joe Lockard
Introduction: Moral Empire and the Rhetoric of Slaveries
Issue #69, June 2004