Lisa Kristine: Photos that bear witness to modern slavery

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For the past two years, photographer Lisa Kristine has traveled the world, documenting the unbearably harsh realities of modern-day slavery. She shares hauntingly beautiful images — miners in the Congo, brick layers in Nepal — illuminating the plight of the 27 million souls enslaved worldwide. (Filmed at TEDxMaui)


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TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. Featured speakers have included Al Gore on climate change, Philippe Starck on design, Jill Bolte Taylor on observing her own stroke, Nicholas Negroponte on One Laptop per Child, Jane Goodall on chimpanzees, Bill Gates on malaria and mosquitoes, Pattie Maes on the “Sixth Sense” wearable tech, and “Lost” producer JJ Abrams on the allure of mystery. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, and TEDTalks cover these topics as well as science, business, development and the arts. Closed captions and translated subtitles in a variety of languages are now available on TED.com, at

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50 thoughts on “Lisa Kristine: Photos that bear witness to modern slavery


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  3. Where's the media coverage, the outrage, the politicians and movie stars on their high horses? Nowhere? Oh yea, they just continue to complain and grovel about slavery that ended 150 years ago rather than do something about modern day slavery


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  5. I find this video very informative. I could not help but become frustrated with fact that the speaker should have more appropriately dressed. Shes a white woman and shes most likely wealthy. She should show more respect by wearing more humbling clothing.


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  10. Very well done! It's really sad that 27 million people on earth are completely enslaved in these modern times. I'd like to also comment on how the powers to be that benefit from these slaves are also benefiting from the monetary enslavement put over all humanity. I believe its now used to keep humanity down from enlightenment globally. A lot of these slaves here were manipulated and put in these situations in fear of poverty or debt at 1st, then completely enslaved. This is also happening systematically everywhere in regards to how our monetary system works. Like 50 cents said "get rich or die trying." I believe humanity can do better then a monetary system that 90% of the time helps the powers to be, to stay in power. All humans should have equal rights as a given. We live in a system where now , some have it better then others, and are pinned against each other. We have all been taught that a monetary system is the best to function for our resources and values, but is it? Has the money game really help humanity as a whole. We now have interest rates and made up numbers from banks dictating the future of countries economies, which is another form of enslavement on humanity. Humanity seems to be more focus on progress then the quality of life everywhere. Our progress will in time wipe our selfs out in about a 100 years, as some very well known scientists predict. A lot of the root to slavery is money and power. This is just a shame that these 27 million people have to suffer in such horrible conditions, but I believe that number is higher once you add all the people working for next to nothing in horrible conditions for the fact they live in fear of poverty, or never ending debt. Right now we have hugely wealthy people (most profit off the backs of modern slaves) that are calling the shots in our world, that are buying their values in the political systems of earth. I wonder if one day in the future we will tare down these walls we put up around humanities freedoms. Every human being tends to want the basics in life, we are taught about the excess and taught to have to work your way to be rich as a ruthless fantasy of freedom, more money you have the freer you are, but in reality the very rich (2% wealthy families of earth) keep their power and everyone else has different levels of freedom but under the same over all controlling system. I believe technology can be used to do most of our meaningless tasks, and possible fix the environment, but only if we take away the greed machine the monetary system has become and maybe always been.Humanity could go further with our awareness, be more creative and open to our views if we had more time, more opportunity too. Belief systems based off fantasy concepts written by old men trying to control the masses, and fake value systems based of the monetary game is keeping us back from our true potential. I know it sounds like utopia concept to think we can all share and get a long, but is it really impossible to do? in a monetary system yes, in a greed based society yes, in a faith religious society where sides can judge each other yes, in racist view or judging people by what they look like yes, but I think maybe their is hope that we can break away from all of these concepts and realities, and transform into something beautiful everywhere. It's time we turn the pg in our history.


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  12. Wow what a story!! Bullshit!!
    She doesn't care. She cares about herself being famous and admired.
    She is a slave to her own desires which she can't live without.


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  14. This photographer was there to get Amazing photos. All of her shots were framed artistically. How awesome is that a white woman artistically photography the pains and horror of these peoples slavery. She eliquintly resites poetry while showing her photos. She travels the world capturing these photos by being invasive because her color gives her permission to do so.


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  17. Indeed, Slavery is existing and illegal. Let us experience Liberation by making us all free from Slavery. Let us start something NOW to end human trafficking. How? Lets unite our effort and initiatives. Lets start to share our time, treasures and talents. Lets start this as our pastoral priority! Sr. Adel, SDS


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  20. This is entirely to blame of course on globalists whom push global trade and thus the externalization of cost to places that tolerate slavery. To fix this is simple. Countries must learn how to become and operate in a self subsisting way. Only then will Africa and Asia find no recourse but to abolish slavery as it too will need to subsist on its own people. Maybe then, and only then, can globalism be at all an ethical option. Instead, our next president (Hillary Clinton) will continue to aim the reduction of local energy production so that her Arab friends can rely on regular clientele from the US.


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  23. So much for being professional showing most your chest geez dress like it and the fact the used the wrong bare in the title.


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  25. But isn't Bill Gates investing money towards slavery in Africa. Who are we kidding here. For everything that you are for there is always somebody against it. The question is, who are these people that are against the abolishment of slavery in those places?


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  27. How much of this is because of us westerners
    cheap products equal cheap labour
    So how "awesome " is that bargain deal now
    We have some responsibility in this


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  30. The truth is.. We will never understand why this happens! we will never know the real responsible for that.. We will never stop cruelty in the world because tha's Human! We destroy ourselves and we are Selfish since the world starts! The clothes you wear, the computer you use right now, your modern smartphone and all the gear created by man that makes other people's life more comfortable comes from someone else's suffering! that's just the truth! no matter how some people fight this will never end in this planet! The human-being is his own enemy!


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  33. I'm being very simplistic here but why doesn't the UN army just bust in these areas and start curb stomping slavery? Why does private charities have to take care of this mess?


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  35. Superb talk. I think; whoever dislike this, they are benefiting from the slavery or they are slaves owners.


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  40. Hello everyone. We all know Slavery still exists in the world. We want to fight it, but we don't know what to do about it. If you are someone like this, there is something you can do to help. I have attached a link that will lead to a Petition. With enough signatures, the United Nations Development Program will see our request, and hopefully take action. To learn more, go to: https://www.change.org/p/united-nations-development-program-please-fight-slavery-in-china. Here you will find out more information, and be able to sign the Petition. Together, we can help abolish Slavery.


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  42. This is total exploit, a mistery from your knowledge. This video should be shut down and proper investigations to be made about the reality of such large scale slavery location. How did you get the video in the first place if it was real? this is absolute bulshit and waste of time, these are poor people working for daily bread and not been enslaved like you ignorantly want to diguise your feltish program.


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  46. This video is being used as a harassment video! You try to dismiss this Video, they You Tube, Google Chrome, and all of THE American Firms, use Harassment, to put over Their Messages! Not LEGAL!


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  51. This story is indeed touching I can never imagine if this is the 21 century we are living in.I have lacked words to say,thank you for sharing this story with the rest of the world.I HOPE THAT THESE SLAVES WILL BE FREE ONEDAY,I AM HOPING AND PRAYING.


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  53. Continuem tirando fotos .. e as coisas vão continuar como estão , só que registradas , e comovendo uma massa hipócrita de elitistas que não fazem merda nenhuma pra mudar o mundo . Menos " photos " e mais ação . 


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  55. There's so much to say about this subject, but a few things come to mind "Who in their right mind is going to let a group of Americans with camera gear, waltz up to your
    slaves and work site, that your poaching gold from just hang out and take pic's ! "
    This company just doesn't seem right… as serious as a topic like this is "the lack of respect showed for these people through that woman's presentation smiling laughing coming out of that 300ft 3×3 shaft… also this is not a bar she could of buttoned at least one if not two more buttons on her blaus" I wouldn't be surprised if all in the audience were hit up to donate…. Very suspect……….


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  60. i am from Nepal aswell, Kathmandu to be precise. It is a good thing what the organization is trying to do. we appreciate it. But what i would like to say is that there is slavery all over the world. I'd like to say anyone working for money as an incentive is a slave. and the root cause to all of the slavery in the world is money. so for now i see "THE VENUS PROJECT" as the best alternative to last hope for humanity. so anyone reading this comment i would like to plead to you. Please let us educate and aware ourselves about TVP. thank you 🙂


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  62. brave woman…Slavery Scourge on humanity, we need crusaders like her to wake people up and unite to end the Modern Day Slavery. 


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  64. The World is governed by the 80/20 law, meaning 20% of the countries use 80% of the ressources and inside those countries 20% of the people own 80% of the money and so on … The Governments in the rich countries have abolished slavery in their countries but made sure that poor countries remain poor, so that they can benefit from their ressources at the  lowest possible price. Equality in the World is an ideal that we may never live to achieve, because food and tools prices will explode if people in third world countries will receive a decent salary. The irony is that some of the poorest countries own the most natural ressources (Ex: Rep. Dem. Congo etc.) while some of the richest countries own no ressources (Ex: Singapore, Great Britain etc). America was built by a few Europeans and millions of African Slavesand by the time slavery was abolished, the white people already owned most of the properties and land,  so nowdays less than 20% of the black population has decent jobs. Anyway, both sides are to blame, slave owners for enslaving people, slaves for accepting their fate. I would rather die at the age of 20 than live as a slave until I reach 60 … but that's just my judgement and opinion.  


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  66. I assume this lady reported her slavery evidence to the local authorities.  Beyond that, what if anything is she expecting us to do about the problem?


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  69. This woman is a brilliant propagandist using the vague image of "hope" by photographing people with candles(how does that help them?) and by dramatizing her speech while she doesn't say anything about the western corporations who exploit the third world continously and when the people rise up in a socialist revolution, the western imperialists and their paramilitary mercenaries move in and ravage the already-poor country in the name of "liberation" and "freedom"..


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  71. @Lisa Kristine I am residence of Kathmandu Valley. I don't Know about the other Slavery You Presented but I do know that you are totally 100% wrong about what you mentioned Kathmandu Valley Brick workers. You may have been there for a day only but I have seen them since my childhood. They get paid as per their labor. They get paid for each brick they make, each bundle of brick they carry. Their children are never allowed to work unless their own father or mother force them not by the factory owner. This Condition also you mention as slavery. I know it because I have been one of the coin payer for each and every load they carry since I was about 10.
    And the thing is that you are comparing the living standard of the USA with theirs. If you earn 1$ per day in USA its like you even cant buy a proper tea. But if its in Nepal you it can buy family food for 4 people two times. The living cost matters. never convert everything in dollar because their are other currencies also that sustains life of people like them.
    I believe you what you are doing is for the right purpose but you have not gone through core details before presenting. What you see in the surface is not always true. Still, I am saying this for the Brick workers. Since 5-7 years back they get well paid to sustain their life in our society. Now you would like to question me about education of children….?? For your kind information the monthly fee of the education in the Government School is around 1-2 $. The thing is the worker is forcing their children not the owner. I have visited most of the brick factory in Bhaktapur. They get well paid for living standard of Nepal not for the luxurious life.
    You have been living your life with at least 10$ per day. Live a month with 1$ per day in USA and in Kathmandu Valley. I know this well because I had lived both life. I lived a dollar day life in Nepal and also a dollar life at Europe(Cyprus). You like the concept of earning big money and spending big But my friend live your life with earning less and spending less. You would like to know about true Nepal then ask us coz we sustain our life in Nepal not in USA.
    What you presented about Sex  is true and now a days government  and some of NGO is eradicating this problem.
    About the Sindhupalchok Stone, I have been there for but I felt only problem was the schools far apart from their living I have walked along with student of age 10-14 who walked for 4-6 hours to reach their school. May be you the part you visited and I visited may be different. So I am not debating in this matter.
    My suggestion for you is, what you have seen, what you have felt, data you have collected analyse it in the point of view of people living over there and their life standard.
    For now I am student, but my aim is strong. I will get paid well more than a dollar per day as I will become an engineer but I am sure about that I will pay at least a student education fee unless s/he is able to earn for s/himself.
    Now if you have time then reply about your aim.


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  73. After listening to examples of slavery i disagree with woman' s definition of slavery. How we are not slaves too. How many people do work because they enjoy it? Most go to work for minimum salary work overtimes, just to be able to pay bills ,hause rent, warry if u have enough left to buy milk for baby, instead family time spend it working without rest , risking exaust your body to the limits and risk to get serious illnesses? I agree this situation is not so dark but essence is the same. Just here person is forsed not by violence by by different finansian and economical means. And in both instances the only people who gain of that only those few at the top. Slavery can take different form and shape.
    And what happened to slaves in usa after slavery was abolished? Were they really free? Did they have means to live and provide food for families? In my country we never had slavery, but poor majority was in absolutely the same conditions as slaves. So is it correct to say we never had slavery? Of course not. Definition is not important but ability to see reality is. And most of us are slaves in one or another form.


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  75. Slavery is a process during which man in power takes advantage of man under his authority. In india or in europe or in usa. Does not matter. If u pay 10 pound for person in need in exchange to repaint your walls ( job of 4 hiurs and worth at least 40 pounds) because u want to save few quits for ur drink despite ur salary is 30 pounds per hour, you enslavering person. Taking Any advantage in any circumstances by forcd or willingly is a slavery. Irrelevant what law says. There is common understanding and humanity above letters of law


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  77. you dont need to be strong to fight for the freedom of others, you just need to be willing to die  defending the freedom of others for without the sacrifice who defended freedom, democracy would be pointless


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