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Blood and Earth

Kevin Bales has traveled to some of the world’s most dangerous places, to document and battle contemporary slavery.

In the course of his work, he began to notice a pattern emerging: where slavery existed, so did massive, unchecked environmental destruction. But why? He set off to find the answer and discovered that even as it destroys individuals, families, and communities, new forms of slavery that proliferate in the world’s lawless zones also pose a grave threat to the environment. Simply put, contemporary slavery is destroying the planet.

The product of seven years of travel and research, his new book Blood and Earth explores the environmental and human-rights hotspots where this crisis is concentrated.

Please read this excerpt, which focuses on how shrimp demand, satisfied with slave labour, is also driving an environmental disaster in Southeast Asia.

You can also read more about the destruction of mangrove swamps.

After reading the book excerpt, search for other examples online of systematic environmental destruction, and tell us in the comments about these potential hotspots. If enforcement of antislavery laws in a country would diminish CO2 emissions, ward off the threat of rising sea levels or destructive deforestation, and preserve endangered species, where should an antislavery and environmentalist coalition focus its efforts now?

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This article is from the free online course:

Ending Slavery: Strategies for Contemporary Global Abolition

The University of Nottingham