Slavery is not a crime confined to the far reaches of history. It is an injustice that continues to entrap twenty-seven million people across the globe. Laura Murphy offers close to forty survivor narratives from Cambodia, Ghana, Lebanon, Macedonia, Mexico, Russia, Thailand, Ukraine, and the United States, detailing the horrors of a system that forces people to work without pay and against their will, under the threat of violence, with little or no means of escape. Representing a variety of circumstances in diverse contexts, these survivors are the Frederick Douglasses, Sojourner Truths, and Olaudah Equianos of our time, testifying to the widespread existence of a human rights tragedy and the urgent need to address it. Through storytelling and firsthand testimony, this anthology shapes a twenty-first-century narrative that many believe died with the end of slavery in the Americas. Organized around such issues as the need for work, the punishment of defiance, and the move toward activism, the collection isolates the causes, mechanisms, and responses to slavery that allow the phenomenon to endure. Enhancing scholarship in women’s studies, sociology, criminology, law, social work, and literary studies, the text establishes a common trajectory of vulnerability, enslavement, captivity, escape, and recovery, creating an invaluable resource for activists, scholars, legislators, and service providers.
Laura Murphy is assistant professor of English at Loyola University New Orleans. Her research focuses on historical and modern slavery in global literatures. The author of Metaphor and the Slave Trade in West African Literature, she is the National College Chapter Coordinator for Free the Slaves and director of the Survivors of Slavery speakers network.