Thursday, October 13, 2011

Aljazeera's "Slavery: A 21st Century Evil" Video Series

In assigning mini-documentaries for my courses, I rely on Aljazeera more than any other news site. A pretty high majority of my students appreciate the videos, but it's not uncommon for a student to say something like, "Of course this video is biased, as it was produced by Aljazeera." I suppose that may be true (just as it would be true for virtually any site). Still, the depth that Aljazeera goes to in addressing issues of global inequality and exploitation is truly unparalleled.

Once again, Aljazeera has outdone itself by producing a large series of videos titled, "Slavery: A 21st Century Evil." Augmenting the outstanding piece titled, "The Nigerian Connection," this series has documentaries on:

The largest contemporary trial on slavery in the United States (City & County of Honolulu, Hawaii) - "Food chain slaves"

Coming soon:

And perhaps most impressive, the series offers guidance on our global responsibility as consumers who assist in driving slavery industries through a piece titled, "Your purchase is advocacy":

My consumer purchase therefore may be my most powerful act of advocacy against slavery. When a million consumers start shopping with their conscience, they shift the economics of the market.

After all, supply chains do not follow immutable laws of production. They operate as "value" chains, because economic value is assigned to those factors that the market rewards. At the moment, the human story gets lost in complex international supply chains, and hence gets assigned minimal economic value.

You can also measure your own estimated contributions to contemporary slavery by taking this "Slavery Footprint" test (courtesty of The Global Sociology Blog).

Be sure to check out Aljazeera's site for updates on this very important series.

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