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Postre: Slavery Today: Sudan (Bosun Jang, Korea/US) (John Eipper, USA, 07/19/10 6:47 am)
Bosun Jang writes:
Although I have spent time in Sudan, I don't work in the field of human rights protection and child labor. ILO probably deals with these problems. Education (my field) is a solution to child labor and slavery, but there are deeper issues that lead to institutionalized slavery, such as poverty.
I'm inclined to say that, since the topic was brought up during a WAIS conversation on Islamic culture and practices, the situation is probably more prevalent in the North (where I have yet to visit). The South has Muslims, of course, but the number is very small compared to the rest of the population.
Also, the North has had a rich history of slavery ever since its contact with Muslim societies and throughout its colonization under the Egyptians (not sure about the British). The North has had a stronger influence from Egypt; the South less so as the British feared Muslim influence after the Madhi Revolution, which at one point had defeated the British and led to the establishment of quite a strong state ruled and administered by the local Sudanese Muslims.
Does slavery occur in places with a huge gap between the wealthy and the poor? Never thought about it, but if the answer is yes, the South is too poor across the board to institutionalize slavery, I think. Any kind of labor would be viewed as an opportunity for a better living rather than a road to slavery. I've never come across this as a modern issue in the South.
I'm not an expert on these things, but my instict (or "reason in a hurry") tells me that any form of institutionalization (positive and negative) requires the necessary human capacity and social infrastructure to set it up and manage it. The South currently has no capacity to institutionalize the most basic programs in education, finance, transportation, etc. I'd be surprised to learn of a functioning, formalized slavery system in a country that still issues paychecks for teachers who died years ago.
JE comments: I understand that Bosun Jang will be returning to the Sudan very soon. I look forward to her reports on this society so unfamiliar to most WAISers.