How to End Slavery In Sudan

Category: World Affairs Topics: Sudan Views: 1069

No subject has been more widely discussed, decried, and denounced among Christian circles than slavery in Sudan. One cannot pick up a religious publication without hearing about it. It is without a doubt the most prominent subject in fundraising letters, from the great to the obscure.

Hundreds of millions of dollars have been collected in the U.S., mostly in churches, and shipped to occupied or "southern" Sudan to buy so called slaves and to turn them loose. According to some estimates, enough money has been raised in churches to purchase 20% or more of all the humans in sparsely-populated southern Sudan. Obviously, most of this money has gone into some other kind of expenditure other than slave purchases.

We are told that slaving continues to flourish and that the government of Sudan is behind it. But the price of "slaves" has declined, not risen as one would expect when there are ever more and more buyers. For whatever reason, the price of "slaves" has declined, first to about the same as that of domestic animals, and finally to the price of a small goat.

When slave-trading flourished in England and the U.S., the value of a healthy human exceeded an entire herd of animals, equivalent to 10 or more horses. This is indeed an amazing economic development, unprecedented in history, as best the writer can tell, and it offers a unique opportunity to stamp out the practice entirely. All that is needed is a simple agreement among the 50 or so mail-order missionaries that are in the slave business that they will now pay one dollar more for a goat than a human.

A low-cost leaflet program could inform the slave providers that the slave-buyers (mail-order missionaries) have all agreed they will no longer buy humans, but will instead buy goats at a slightly-inflated price. This move would be well-received by some authorities that have already criticized the mail-order missionaries for their slave-buying programs, arguing that by buying people and then freeing them, the practice of slavery is being encouraged and, in effect, subsidized. Even the United Nations Organization, UNESCO, has observed this and openly criticized the practice.

Even if the potential slave sellers did not get a leaflet, the news would get around by word-of-mouth. The effect of the moratorium would be immediate and dramatic. Any sensible slave trader would prefer to steal goats instead of people, if the economics were comparable. This has to be true, because slaves, being of higher intellect than goats, are hard to keep and prone to run off at the first opportunity. It is well-known among farm folks that a farmer's two children can easily herd 100 goats, and that goats forage for food and don't cry at night. But that the farmer's two children require great attention and care--much more than 100 goats.

In short, it is cheaper and safer for a slave trader to steal goats and sell them to the mail-order missionaries than it is to steal and sell people. If the slave trader steals the farmer's goats, he will no doubt be reported to the authorities. But if he steals the farmer's children, he may be chased and killed. Therefore, as one can see, all that is needed to end slavery in Sudan is a simple agreement by the slave buyers (mail-order missionaries) that they will now pay one dollar a head more for a goat than a human.. This will immediately convert all slavers into goat thieves.

If you think this through carefully, you will see this is a win-win situation. The goat buyers can free the goats or sell or donate the goats back to the local people or to the original owners, just as they now do with the slaves. The recipients can milk them or eat them, thus helping the economy. As long as the mail-order missionaries stick to their promise to buy goats, but not humans, there will be absolutely no market for slaves, and the price should drop even lower. By this simple device, dependant only upon the immutable laws of economics and the honesty of the mail-order missionaries (who must keep their word), slavery in Sudan can be forever eliminated.

The only possible hitch might be in the churches of America. When the mail-order missionaries return to their fund-raising and tell church members that they are no longer buying slaves, but are instead supporting the goat market, the money for their missions may well dry up. If this happens, the mail-order missionaries may be unable to buy the stolen goats, and the price of goats could drop radically, and then goat theft in Sudan might also come to an end,

Wouldn't it?


The author is a member of We Hold These Truths, an organization which has worked to dispell Western myths regarding the conflict in the Sudan.

  Category: World Affairs
  Topics: Sudan
Views: 1069

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