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Kanye West slavery comments deemed unhelpful by Christian human rights group

A Christian human rights charity has described US rapper Kanye West's comments on slavery as unhelpful toward the fight against modern day slavery.

The multi-millionaire has been criticised for saying in an interview that 400 years of slavery in America "sounds like a choice".

He made the comments to entertainment website TMZ, where he was interrupted by a staff member who accused him of an "absence of thought".

 

Responding to the comments, David Westlake, CEO of International Justice Mission told Premier News Hour slavery is never a choice.

"The only people who had a choice in the 400 years of slavery are the people who captured and sold slaves. They were exercising a choice to profit from other people's misery.

"It raises an issue which is how people get into slavery. Slavery is a brutal violent crime. There is no choice involved.

"It's a shock for people to know that there are more slaves now than there were during the transatlantic slave trade."

 

Westlake said the biggest element of modern day slavery is bonded labour, in which people borrow a small amount of money and are then trapped in debt bondage.

He added: "They are told they have to pay back this money by working and that can go on for generation after generation where costs are added - the debt is never paid off."

He encouraged Christians to join in efforts to abolish modern-day slavery.

"You and I have a choice," he said. "We have a choice as to whether we will go before our God and join his cry through the ages of 'let my people go'."

West has since tweeted that he was misinterpreted, insisting he knows slaves didn't get shackled through free will.

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