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Abstract

The government focuses on trafficking as the definitive form of modern day slavery. In doing so, it portrays modern day slavery as a private act with identifiable wrongdoers and views the Thirteenth Amendment through the lens of forced labor. Workers’ advocates, on the other hand, portray modern day slavery as a systemic form of oppression, supported by governmental policies on immigration and occupational exclusions. These groups focus on the Thirteenth Amendment through the lens of class. A historical analysis suggests that the proper approach views the Thirteenth Amendment through the lens of both class and labor.