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This is an audio version of the Wikipedia Article:
Slave trade

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SUMMARY
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The history of slavery spans many cultures, nationalities, and religions from ancient times to the present day. However the social, economic, and legal positions of slaves were vastly different in different systems of slavery in different times and places.Slavery appears in the Mesopotamian Code of Hammurabi (c. 1860 BC), which refers to it as an established institution.Slavery is rare among hunter-gatherer populations, because it is developed as a system of social stratification. Slavery was known in the very first civilizations such as Sumer in Mesopotamia which dates back as far as 3500 BC. The Byzantine–Ottoman wars and the Ottoman wars in Europe resulted in the taking of large numbers of Christian slaves. Slavery became common within much of Europe during the Dark Ages and it continued into the Middle Ages. The Dutch, French, Spanish, Portuguese, British, Arabs and a number of West African kingdoms played a prominent role in the Atlantic slave trade, especially after 1600. David P. Forsythe wrote: "The fact remained that at the beginning of the nineteenth century an estimated three-quarters of all people alive were trapped in bondage against their will either in some form of slavery or serfdom." The Republic of Dubrovnik was the first European country to ban the slave trade in 1416, and in modern times Denmark-Norway in 1802.
Although slavery is no longer legal anywhere in the world (with the exception of penal labour), human trafficking remains an international problem and an estimated 25-40 million people are enslaved today, the majority in Asia. During the 1983–2005 Second Sudanese Civil War people were taken into slavery. Evidence emerged in the late 1990s of systematic child slavery and trafficking on cacao plantations in West Africa; see the chocolate and slavery article. Slavery continues into the 21st-century. Although slavery in Mauritania was criminalized in August 2007, in Mauritania it is estimated that up to 600,000 men, women and children, or 20% of the population, are currently enslaved, many of them used as bonded labor. Slavery in 21st-century Islamism continues, and women and children have been abducted and enslaved (often as sex slaves) by Islamist quasi-states such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and Boko Haram. 

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