Slavery is a legal or economic system in which principles of property law are applied to humans allowing them to be classified as property, to be owned, bought and sold accordingly, and they cannot withdraw unilaterally from the arrangement. While a person is a slave, the owner is entitled to the productivity of the slave's labour, without any remuneration. The rights and protection of the slave may be regulated by laws and customs in a particular time and place, and a person may become a slave from the time of their capture, purchase or birth.
Today, chattel slavery is unlawful in all countries, but a person may still be described as a slave if he or she is forced to work for another person without an ability on their part to unilaterally terminate the arrangement. Such situations are today commonly referred to as "practices similar to slavery". The present form of the slave trade is commonly referred to as human trafficking.
Slavery existed before written history and in many cultures. It was once institutionally recognized by most societies, but has now been outlawed in all countries, the last being Mauritania in 2007. However, it continues through such practices as debt bondage, serfdom, domestic servants kept in captivity, certain adoptions in which children are forced to work as slaves, child soldiers, human trafficking and forced marriage. Accordingly, there are more slaves today than at any time in history, with an estimated 20 million to 36 million slaves worldwide.
"Slave Labour" is a mural that was painted by a British graffiti artist, Banksy, on the side wall of a Poundland store in Wood Green, London in May 2012. The artwork is 48.03 inches (122cm) high by 59.84 inches (152cm) wide, and depicts an urchin child at a sewing machine assembling a bunting of Union Jack patches. The work was a protest against the use of sweatshops to manufacture Diamond Jubilee and London Olympics memorabilia in 2012.
In February 2013 the mural was removed from its location and put up for sale at Fine art Auctions in Miami, USA. After an appeal from the residents of Wood Green the mural was withdrawn from sale in the US and returned to the UK. It was sold at an auction in Covent Garden, London for (USD) $1.2 million.
Removal and sale
There is controversy over the disappearance of the mural, as a portion of the wall was physically removed from the building the artwork was sprayed upon. The owners of the building have not commented on whether it was legally or illegally sold and removed.