"Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
"Sec. 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation."...
Now, therefore, be it known, that I, William H. Seward, Secretary of State of the United States...do hereby certify that the amendment aforesaid has become valid, to all intents and purposes, as a part of the Constitution of the United States.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the Department of State to be affixed.
Done at the city of Washington, this eighteenth day of December, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-five, and of the Independence of the United States of America the ninetieth.
"Slavery" brings up a definite mental image in the minds of Americans, which more likely than not is that of black slaves, predominately forced agricultural labor, prior to the end of the American Civil War that resulted ultimately in emancipation and abolition. The term gets thrown around a lot in different circles too. I've used it as a shock term in describing what I see as our overall decline in condition from citizens of a republic to subjects of a State. It's been used to describe conditions under which some aliens in the United States today exist because of their presence here in violation of immigration laws. Both are valid, but both also serve to perpetuate visions that keep a real slavery crisis in the shadows.
Just this past week, we heard the sensational story out of Cleveland, Ohio about the three women rescued from captivity at the hands of a sexual predator for a decade. The victims have been referred to, properly, as "slaves". The story is front page news on a large proportion of print and online media, and among the top stories on broadcast media.
Yesterday afternoon (May 10, 2013), there was another horrific story reported out of the Cleveland area. It hasn't been reported by CNN. Or Fox News. Or...well, hardly anywhere. I believe that this story isn't being widely reported because it's a societal problem so incredible in the breadth and depth of its horrors that many people just can't process or accept that it could happen here, in the United States.
This story is one of the real faces of slavery in America: young women, many still girls, children, forced into into sexual slavery as prostitutes. There are also cases simply involving forced labor, but I find coerced sex-for-service inflicted upon a victim of any age particularly barbaric. And want to know what's really scary? It's probably also going on right now, close to you, within minutes of travel time from where you're sitting and reading this.