Slave Redemption in Sudan

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RESPONSE PAPER – SLAVE REDEMPTION IN SUDAN
This article discusses the slave redemption program that was developed after the National Islamic Front (NIF), from Northern Sudan, had started to re-engage in the slave trade, in 1989. It provided background information on the raising of funds to buy back slaves led predominately by Christian Solidarity International (CSI). The actions of both groups created a situation of supply and demand.

When the slave trade had been re-established the NIF would sell the slaves for as low as $15. Once word of the enslavement of Sudanese citizens, specifically members of the Dinka tribe, had reached the outside world, humanitarian groups got involved. The development of the “slave redemption” program changed how business was conducted in Sudan, with respect to slaves.

The slave redemption program created a situation where the price, for the sale of slaves, rose from $15 to a range of $50 to $100 for slaves. This increase in the price for slaves led to, in most cases, a market, for the old slave owners, where it became too costly to hold slaves. Thus, this led to owners selling them to the redeemers. This situation increased the demand for slaves to be freed, by groups such as CIF. However, the desires of the redeemers also led to an increase in supply. The slave traders would enslave more people in order to meet the demand for slaves to be freed. This demand led to a requirement to increase the number of people capturing slaves to fulfill supply needs. A vicious circle was created, by the redeemers, which made the trade in slaves’ big business. A problem had been exasperated by those trying to solve the problem. There had been, prior to slave redemption, situations in which owners freed slaves when they were no longer of any value to owners. However, once the redemption program was in place they were kept because they now had value. There was also a side industry created where ‘fake slaves’ were used to garner...
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