Shreds of slavery still remains in several states including Louisiana, were on ballot in 2022 election
Colorado was the first state that officially abolished the removal of slavery exception language in 2018, which was followed by Nebraska and Utah in 2020
WASHINGTON DC, WASHINGTON: History was rewritten on Tuesday, November 8, when voters in three states supported a move that will change their state constitutions. The step taken through ballot measures to prohibit slavery and involuntary servitude as punishment for crime. However, the move was not welcomed in Louisiana State. The measure taken will now put an end to the use of prison labor in Tennessee, Alabama, and Vermont, and most likely be seen in Oregon too, where "yes" leads its anti-slavery ballot initiative.
The changes will not be enforced with immediate effects, instead for now they may be taken up to court in cases where the practice of coercing prisoners to work under threat of sanctions or loss of privileges is handed. Many anti-slavery advocates celebrated and vowed to push for further reform in the direction when more than 150 years ago enslaved Africans and their descendants were held freed from bondage through changes in the 13th Amendment.
“Voters in Oregon and other states have come together across party lines to say that this stain must be removed from state constitutions,” Oregon Senator and Democrat Jeff Merkley told the Associated Press. He added, “Now, it is time for all Americans to come together and say that it must be struck from the US Constitution. There should be no exceptions to a ban on slavery.”
Though, the current exception that allows the exceptions of low-cost labor by imprisoned individuals persists in several states. Markley and Republican Nikema Williams, D-Georgia, with the creation of the Juneteenth federal holiday last year also reintroduced legislation to get rid of the slavery exception in the 13th Amendment. The successful approval in Congress will then need three-fourths of US states' acceptance, reports Boston.
Bianca Tylek, an anti-slavery advocate and the executive director of the criminal justice advocacy group Worth Rises, said to the Associated Press, “The 13th Amendment didn’t actually abolish slavery — what it did was make it invisible.” As per the report, she emphasized the success in a red-state like Alabama and pointed out that it, “is a great signal for what’s possible at the federal level. There is a big opportunity here, in this moment.”
Colorado was the first state, that officially abolished the removal of slavery exception language in 2018, the move which was followed by Nebraska, and Utah in 2020.
Efforts were being made for decades to end or regulate the usage of prison labor, which is a multi-billion dollar business. However, prisoners make mere pennies out of a dollar.