Vocabulary – Modern day slavery


Before watching a video excerpt from Ted.com, familiarize yourself with the following entries. This will help you understand the video better.
  1. Free the slave - an international non-governmental organization and lobby group, established to campaign against the modern practice of slavery around the world.

  2. Abolitionist - a reformer who favours abolishing slavery

  3. Transatlantic slave trade – the large scale slave trade took place across the Atlantic Ocean from the 16th through to the 19th centuries.


Task 1 - Comprehension

Read the following questions and guess what the answers may be. Then watch the video clip and select the appropriate answer.

Video ©TED.com

Task 2 – Vocabulary

A. Match the definitions in the right column to the words in the left.

B. Practice

Select the best answer (A or B) to complete the conversations between Peter and Mary.

Extended Task – Prefix

A prefix is a letter or group of letters that is added to the beginning of a word to make a new word.

For example, adding prefix “IN-“to the base word “CONSEQUENTIAL” creates a new word “INCONSEQUENTIAL”. Also, ‘TRANS-’ + ‘ATLANTIC’ = ‘TRANSATLANTIC’.

If you come across a word that you don’t know, you can guess its meaning if you know the prefix and the base word.

The following are some common prefixes.





against, not, opposite

unable, undo, unequal, unusual, untie



react, reappear, reform


not, without

inaction, incapable, invisible


not, without

impossible, improper, impure


not, without

illegal, illogical


not, without

irregular, irrelevant, irradiate


not, opposite, reverse, away

disagree, disallow, disconnect, disrespect



preheat, prehistory, premature



submarine, submerge, substandard



interact, interchange, interstate

Now choose the correct prefix in each of the following sentences:
To learn more about ‘prefix’, visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/skillswise/topic/prefixes-and-suffixes .


Lisa Kristine - glimpses of modern day slavery


A conservative estimate tells us there are more than 27 million people enslaved in the world today. That's double the amount of people taken from Africa during the entire trans-Atlantic slave trade. A hundred and fifty years ago, an agricultural slave cost about three times the annual salary of an American worker. That equates to about $50,000 in today's money. Yet today, entire families can be enslaved for generations over a debt as small as $18.Astonishingly, slavery generates profits of more than $13 billion worldwide each year.

Many have been tricked by false promises of a good education, a better job, only to find that they're forced to work without pay under the threat of violence, and they cannot walk away.

Today's slavery is about commerce, so the goods that enslaved people produce have value, but the people producing them are disposable. Slavery exists nearly everywhere in the world, and yet it is illegal everywhere in the world.

In India and Nepal, I was introduced to the brick kilns. This strange and awesome sight was like walking into ancient Egypt or Dante's Inferno. Enveloped in temperatures of 130 degrees, men, women, children, entire families in fact, were cloaked in a heavy blanket of dust, while mechanically stacking bricks on their head, up to 18 at a time, and carrying them from the scorching kilns to trucks hundreds of yards away. Deadened by monotony and exhaustion, they work silently, doing this task over and over for 16 or 17 hours a day.There were no breaks for food, no water breaks, and the severe dehydration made urinating pretty much inconsequential. So pervasive was the heat and the dust that my camera became too hot to even touch and ceased working. Every 20 minutes, I'd have to run back to our cruiser to clean out my gear and run it under an air conditioner to revive it, and as I sat there, I thought, my camera is getting far better treatment than these people. (05:52)

Back in the kilns, I wanted to cry, but the abolitionist next to me quickly grabbed me and he said, "Lisa, don't do that. Just don't do that here." And he very clearly explained to me that emotional displays are very dangerous in a place like this, not just for me, but for them. I couldn't offer them any direct help. I couldn't give them money, nothing. I wasn't a citizen of that country. I could get them in a worse situation than they were already in. I'd have to rely on Free the Slaves to work within the system for their liberation, and I trusted that they would. As for me, I'd have to wait until I got home to really feel my heartbreak.
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