What kinds of work did slaves do in Ancient Mesopotamia and in the world today?

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Slaves played an integral role in ancient Mesopotamian life. These slaves were captives of war, minors sold into slavery, or they were born into slavery. As well, in ancient Sumer, the king would send out bands of men to plunder for slaves. Royal slaves, known as public slaves, constructed buildings...

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Slaves played an integral role in ancient Mesopotamian life. These slaves were captives of war, minors sold into slavery, or they were born into slavery. As well, in ancient Sumer, the king would send out bands of men to plunder for slaves. Royal slaves, known as public slaves, constructed buildings and built roads and fortifications. In this manner, they served the empire. Slaves also worked in the wealthy households and the temples. Without slaves, ancient Mesopotamia may not have thrived in the same respects.

Unfortunately, in today's world, slavery still exists. One form of slavery is debt-bondage or bonded labor. In many countries, people are forced to work to pay off money they owe. They may be forced to labor in factories, agriculture, or sweatshops, producing goods sold in other countries. Children can also be forced into slavery by their parents to work in those same types of labor. Also, young girls are forced into marriage against their will and must comply with their families' arrangements. Other occupations that employ slaves consist of the fishing industry and domestic work. Lastly, human trafficking and prostitution also constitute modern slavery.

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Slaves in Mesopotamia were generally prisoners of war. Sometimes, however, children were sold into slavery by their parents in desperate economic times. The wealthy of the civilization were the ones that could own the slaves and the slave became the property of the owner. Slaves mostly worked domestic chores in the homes of the wealthy, but could also be used in the temple to do work for the priests. Some slaves worked in the fields, but this was pretty uncommon since the wealthy were generally not involved in farming. Some female slaves were used as concubines by the master. The master could also support slaves with skills to operate a business or apprenticeship. This was not done with the purpose of making the slaves life better, but as an investment in future returns, the slaves could bring him.

Today, slavery still exists in the world and is a major problem. Today slaves are much cheaper to acquire and are seen as disposable commodities. Slaves today are used as unskilled manual laborers to produce agricultural goods or consumer goods. There is also a darker side to the slave trade today that uses slaves in illicit sex trafficking rings. This trade accounts to close to a quarter of all slaves and is estimated to be numbered at close to five million slaves.

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