In these economic times, more and more people finding themselves being incarcerated due to debts. Consider the following quote when debating the 13th amendment, many in Congress were not thinking of slaves, but rather white labor, with Senator Henry Wilson saying,

“The same influences that go to keep down and crush down the rights of the poor black man bear down and oppress the poor white laboring man.”

When the US brought in the 13th amendment many thought this was to abolish slavery, but it did leave an exceptional circumstance

“neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

So in the case someone has been convicted, slavery and involuntary servitude are legal.

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Source: ActivistPost