The whole point of granite, that it is hard and durable, is also the reason it is difficult to mine and process. It has to be carefully removed from quarries in large thin slabs, so you can’t just go in with dynamite and bulldozers. Careful handling means handwork, which requires people with drills and chisels, hammers and crowbars gently working the granite out of the ground. And in India, the most cost effective way to achieve that is slavery.Where do they get slaves? Refugees of natural disasters are one source.
“See the little girl playing with the hammer?” asked a local investigator. “Along with the child, the size of the hammer grows, and that’s the only progress in her life.” Slavery in granite quarries is a family affair enforced by a tricky scheme based on debt. When a poor family comes looking for work, the quarry bosses are ready to help with an “advance” on wages to help the family settle in. The rice and beans they eat, the scrap stones they use to build a hut on the side of the quarry, the hammers and crowbars they need to do their work, all of it is provided by the boss and added to the family’s debt. Just when the family feels they may have finally found some security, they are being locked into hereditary slavery. This debt bondage is illegal, but illiterate workers don’t know this, and the bosses are keen to play on their sense of obligation, not alert them to the scam that’s sucking them under.
Especially in countries where corruption is rife, slavers act with impunity after environmental devastation, luring and capturing the refugees, the destitute, and the dispossessed. This has happened in countries like Mali, where sand dunes drift right over villages, forcing the inhabitants to flee in desperation, seeking new livelihoods, only to find themselves enslaved.In my previous post on Christianity and the end of slavery, I had thought of modern slavery in the "entertainment" industry - sex slaves for one. My other thought was that in the absence of Christian influences on our culture, our recent fascination with Mixed Martial Arts matches where one combatant typically ends up beaten senseless is only a tiny nudge away from Rome's gladiators where the loser ended up dead. Do away with Christianity and you're left with ... why not?
In any case, slavery is going on now because in industries that involve high levels of risks from toxins or accidents, you need life to be very, very cheap.