What Next

Why Outlawing Slavery Won’t Outlaw Slavery—Yet

State ballot initiatives took aim at an exemption written right into the 13th Amendment.


Episode Notes

During the 2022 midterms, four states voted to ban slavery, which is still legal—and practiced—in the form of forced prison labor. The ballot initiatives are designed to keep people from having to work against their will and could provide prisoners with the opportunity to sue for higher wages, and better working conditions, including medical exemptions for those who are pregnant and postpartum.

Guest: Candace Bond-Theriault Esq., Director of Racial Justice Policy & Strategy at Columbia Law School’s Center for Gender & Sexuality Law.

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Podcast production by Elena Schwartz, Carmel Delshad, and Madeline Ducharme, with help from Anna Phillips, Tori Dominguez, and Jared Downing.


About the Show

The problem with the news right now? It’s everywhere. And each day, it can feel like we’re all just mindlessly scrolling. It’s why we created What Next. This short daily show is here to help you make sense of things. When the news feels overwhelming, we’re here to help you answer: What next? Look for new episodes every weekday morning.

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  • Mary Harris is the host and managing editor of What Next, Slate's new daily news podcast. She has reported throughout the public radio system, for NPR, Marketplace, and WNYC.