VOLUNTEER SLAVERY: Christian anti-slavery groups have been getting scammed in Sudan, according to this Independent report. The anti-slavery groups “redeem”–buy–slaves, then free them and send them back to their villages. But the report is full of stories of villagers posing as slaves, and there’s lots of convincing evidence that the slave-redemption numbers don’t add up. This has been an accusation made against redemption groups for years, but this is the first in-depth story I’ve seen on it.

The article doesn’t address the other problem with redemption, though. When you increase the demand for something, you can expect the supply to increase. Pumping money into the slave trade could do one of two things: It could increase the supply of real slaves, or it could increase the supply of fake slaves. Sadly, I suspect both results have occurred. Redemption groups have argued that since the main reason for the slave trade is Sudan’s civil war, not profit, paying for slaves won’t lead to more enslavement. But there’s no inconsistency in the belief that slavery is primarily a weapon of war, but also a source of profit. Slave redemption is a bad idea.

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