Ethical Conflict essay



Slaveryis a state whereby a person is controlled by another person. Undersuch conditions, people do not have the freedom to express theirrights and they are under harsh conditions (Siller, 2016). Thehistory of slavery can be traced to nearly every culture andnationality. Slavery has been there from ancient time to the presentday. Nevertheless, slaves during ancient times had different socialand economic positions. Ancient slavery mostly dealt with humantrafficking. The purpose of this assignment is to discuss the issueof slavery and modern slavery, and how the issue can be appliedaccording to different theories.

MoralImplication of the Topic

Themoral issues in the modern slavery are bonded labor, child labor,forced labor, domestic servitude, and sex trafficking (Julia, 2015. P58). Bonded labor is a situation where some people work for others inorder to repay a loan, which they were unable to repay. People startworking with the main intention of repaying the loan, but the realityemerges to be the opposite. People who are in bonded labor usuallystart working through an employment agreement, but conditions forwork change gradually and become brutal. This eventually changes theemployment contract into permanent enslavement. Forced labor isanother form of modern slavery, whereby people are coerced to workfor little or no pay (Silvia, 2008). Forced labor is usually aimed atprofiting those practicing slave trade. Globally, industries whichare particularly associated with forced laborers are the agriculture,textile, mineral, fishing, and construction industries. Most of theseindustries are privately owned (Avalos, 2011. P 38). Also, sextrafficking is rampant in the modern society. Children, women, or menare forcefully engaged in commercial sex. People who carry out thebusiness of sex trafficking use false employment promises to trappeople whom they later enslave in commercial sex acts. Furthermore,the domestic servitude has become a modern form of slavery in whichdomestic workers find their employment arrangement translating intoconfusing situations which curtail their freedom to leave at theirown will, thus becoming slaves (Silvia, 2008). Child labor is wherechildren are engaged in domestic servitude, commercial sex acts orany employment. Forced marriages are present today and are on therise. A forced marriage is where a person is forced to get marriedagainst her will.

Theprinciples of conflict in the moral issue of modern slavery arehonesty, fidelity, justice, and non-maleficence. In the modernslavery, people are deceived, promises are broken, slaves treatedunfairly, and harming is evident. Such acts contradict the principlesof morality. Modern slavery is a moral issue because it is likely tocause potential harm to people who are being enslaved and those whoare practicing slave trade (Siller, 2016). The relevant fact in thisissue is that keeping promises is important to morality because, ifpromises are broken, they will most likely waste the time of thosewho had been promised as well as destroying the reputation of thosewho broke promises. Another fact is that it is important not to hurtpeople, but instead, help them. There is a lot of anguish in themodern slavery, and this is generally wrong. The importance offairness and equality is a relevant fact in this morality issue(Harrington &amp Keenan, 2010. P 64). Modern slavery treats peopleunfairly, especially the children who are exposed to child laborinstead of getting access to quality education. Those people who areaffected by modern slavery are the uneducated, the indebted, and thepoor. Modern slavery can cause a great harm such as depression,infections with sexually transmitted diseases, in some cases deathcan result, and family separation (Julia,2015. P 87). Thisharm is not justified because it conflicts with the principles ofmorality such as fairness.


TheTheory of Egoism

EgoismTheory supports modern slavery. The theory of egoism states thatpeople engage in actions solely because of selfish gains. People willdo something if and only if it is beneficial to them. For example,people will engage in forced labor in the agriculture, textile,mineral, fishing, and construction industries to maximize theirprofits (Appiah&amp Bunzl, 2007. P 62).


Theutilitarianism theory condemns the issue of modern slavery. Utilitarianism states that a good moral action should maximizeutility, especially for the community. According to theutilitarianism, any action taken should be for the benefit of themajority, but this is not the case with modern slavery (Harrington&amp Keenan, 2010. 96).For example, forced labor only benefits industry owners by providingthem with a cheap source of labor.


Thetheory of care ethics condemns the issue of modern slavery. Careethics insist on doing actions that are good to others, but they maynot be necessarily good to those who commit the act (Avalos,2011. P 86).That is, the actions are supposed to show care for others. Therefore,care ethics opposes modern slavery. For example, bonded labor is goodto creditors, but harmful to debtors.


Modernslavery is contrary to the Universal Law Formula (ULF) of Kant’sCategorical Imperative. According to ULF, the action a person takesshould be a rule for all to follow. Acts such as sex trafficking,forcing children to work, and forcing others to work under harshconditions cannot be applied universally since they cause a lot ofsuffering to the victims and they are against the principles ofmorality (Appiah&amp Bunzl, 2007. P 70).

Ethicsof W.D. Ross

Accordingto Prima Facie Duties, modern slavery is not supported. Prima FacieDuties propose that there is a great obligation of not engaging inslavery since it has greater “prima facie” of wrongness than“prima facie” of rightness (Appiah&amp Bunzl, 2007. P 74).Modern slavery will cause more harm than good to people. For example,sex trafficking is traumatic and leads to loss of self-esteem.


VirtueEthics condemn modern slavery. Virtue Ethics insist on a person’scharacter as the main element in determining the actions that peopletake rather than the likely consequences of the actions or the rulesthat govern the acts. Virtue Ethics condemn modern slavery becausemost people being involved in modern slavery are motivated by itsconsequences (Harrington&amp Keenan, 2010. P 106).For example, forced labor benefits industry owners by providing themwith a cheap source of labor.

Ithink modern slavery is an issue that the government, human rightsactivists, and nongovernment organization should try to eliminate asit causes a lot of suffering to victims. Also, people should followthe right legal procedures when securing jobs in foreign countries toavoid being trapped in the issue of slavery. Emanating from the illsassociated with the issue of modern slavery, it can be considered tobe unethical.


Appiah,A., &amp Bunzl, M. (2007). Buyingfreedom: The ethics and economics of slave redemption.Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press.

Avalos,H. (2011). Slavery,abolitionism, and the ethics of biblical scholarship.Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press.

Harrington,D. J., &amp Keenan, J. F. (2010). Pauland virtue ethics: Building bridges between New Testament studies andmoral theology.Lanham, MD: Rowman &amp Littlefield.

Julia,O. C. D. (2015). ModernSlavery.Basingstoke, ZULU: Palgrave Macmillan.

Siller,N. (2016). Modern Slavery: Does International Law distinguish betweenSlavery, Enslavement and Trafficking? Journalof International Criminal Justice.

Silvia,S. (2008). Trafficking in Human Beings: Modern Slavery. EuropeanJournal of International Law,Vol. 20(2) pp 453-457.