Who would have thought that in the twenty-first century, the enslavement of human beings would still exist? Kevin Bales writes that "the awareness that there are twenty-seven million slaves in the world has not yet fully penetrated the public mind." It is a difficult concept to grasp when we are taught as early as elementary school that the United States of America abolished slavery in 1865 with the Thirteenth Amendment. Worldwide, slavery lasted slightly longer, and Brazil was the last country in the Western Hemisphere to terminate the classic system of slavery with the Áurea Law in 1888. However, during November of 2006, I spent a month in Açailândia, Maranhão in the Northeast of Brazil, where I conducted field research consisting of observations and interviews with former slaves and those struggling to help them, which illuminated the system of exploitation, a system that I once believed had died out long before I was born. Based on provocative information from fieldwork and Latin American theory, this monograph elucidates upon why slavery remains a reality after hundreds of years of social and economic oppression as a result of coloniality.