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Definition 1: Kevin Bales, author of Disposable People, a book exploring contemporary slavery and its role in today’s global society, gives a relatively general definition of contemporary slavery, noting that slavery takes many forms so as to remain hidden from public view.

A person held by violence or the threat of violence for economic exploitation.

 Bales' Free the Slaves

Definition 2: David Bell helps us to see that slavery has three ways of exerting itself:

  1. The first is social and involves the use or threat of violence in the control of one person by another.
  2. The second is the psychological facet of influence, the capacity to persuade another person to change the way he perceives his interests and his circumstances.
  3. And the third is the cultural facet of authority--the means of transforming force into right and obedience into duty--which, according to Jean Jacques Rousseau, the powerful find necessary to "ensure them continual mastership."

Definion 3: Article 4 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights argues, as passed by the United Nations in 1948,

No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

 See the U.N. Declaration