This is one of the many problems in the world that we as humans should be ashamed of. We turn a blind eye to it because it reminds us what kind of inhumane treatment we are capable of as human beings.
The 6th Dec this year marked the 150 years since the ratification of the 13th Amendment formally abolishing slavery in the US.
But almost 150 years after the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery and involuntary servitude, there are still men, women and children enslaved into labor and commercial sexual exploitation in the U.S.
There are more people in slavery today than at any time in history.
It is now the third – largest and fastest – growing crime worldwide. The average cost of a modern-day slave is a mere $90. This is a fraction of the average cost of a slave in 1850, which was $40,000( in current dollar value)
Each and every one are a living, breathing reminders that the war against slavery remains unfinished.
Unfortunately, for many of the world’s workers, exploitation is a reality that must be factored into the path towards a better life.
Its roots are in the three greatest problems facing a shared world : Inequality of opportunity, Exploitation for excessive profits, and Sustainability.
The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates profits (PDF) from this forced labor are $150 billion a year.
The presence of forced labour in the supply chains of major manufacturers has been repeatedly documented. Human exploitation has built our world and continues to drive global economic growth.
Cheap labour, cheap sex and cheap goods are woven into the fabric of our individual lives.
It is easy to be horrified about slavery while absolving ourselves of direct responsibility.
“[Human trafficking] ought to concern every person because it is a debasement of our common humanity. It ought to concern every community because it tears at our social fabric. It ought to concern every business because it distorts markets. It ought to concern every nation because it endangers public health and fuels violence and organized crime.” —President Barack Obama.
Here are some hard facts:
Hopefully they might make you think twice.
Some 35.8 million people are currently trapped in modern-day slavery, forced to pick cotton, grow cannabis and prostitute themselves among other things. 167 countries, said modern slavery contributed to the production of at least 122 goods from 58 countries.
India comes top, with more than 14.29 m people reckoned to be equivalent to slaves, followed by China, Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Russia.
Uzbekistan is the second offender on the list because every autumn, the government forces over one million people, including children, to harvest cotton.
Mauritania has anti-slavery legislation but it is rarely enforced and a special tribunal set up in March has yet to prosecute any cases. Mauritania abolished slavery in 1981, though without passing legislation to punish slave-owners. To day there are around 150,000 people out of Mauritania’s total population of 3.8m who are still enslaved.
Countries like Qatar in the Middle East were a major destination for men and women from Africa and Asia who are lured with promises of well-paid jobs only to find themselves exploited as domestic workers or in the construction industry.
Africa faces some of the biggest challenges, with armed forces and rebel groups from Somalia to the Central African Republic using child soldiers to mineral-rich Zambia, Angola, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo forcing children and adults to “labor in dangerous mines.” Estimated to be one million.
Ivory Coast, 60% of chocolate is produced by an estimated 500,000 child labour.
South Africa, where private hospitals harvest the organs of deceived Brazilians for commercial transplant operations. 70,000 kidneys come annually from the black market.
West Africa the practice of forced servitude called Trokosi.
Australian sex industry.
Afghanistan Young boys sold through a practice call Bacha Bazi.
Senegal. 50,000 homeless children forced to beg.
Brothels of Bali.
Indoor Cannabis Farm in the UK.
Camel Jockeys Persian Gulf.
Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, domestic workers in private homes.
Cocoa farms of Ivory Coast, made profitable through the almost-zero cost labour of child workers from Mali.
Fishing boats throughout Asia and the Pacific. Demand for cheap seafood drives modern-day slavery.
Houston is a major labor and sex trafficking hub in the United States.
In the houses and apartments of wealthy Americans, where Guatemalan maids sleep on the floor and are not paid or allowed outside.
Florida is one of the top three states for human trafficking in the U.S.
It is estimated that there are around 60,000 people in modern-day slavery in the USA
There were at least 5,000 trafficking victims in the UK last year 2014.
Although every government in the world has declared slavery an illegal enterprise, it flourishes. Every year Globally some 60,000 to 80,000 people are trafficked across international borders each year.
The bitter truth is that despite growing awareness of the issue there are still more than 36 million slaves in the world today, trapped in forced labor, sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, military service, and child labor.
Trafficking in persons is modern-day slavery and it exists in virtually every country in the world.
Now we all know no matter what we do there will always be people exploited by others.
People are forced into working and poverty at the same time by government legislation, or the lack thereof.
But is it not time to give Immigrants proper legal citizenship’s if earned.
Even if victims identify themselves as such and are aware of their rights, they still might hesitate to report their victimization out of fear of reprisal from the trafficker, lack of trust in law enforcement or fear of deportation.
Is it not time for western rich countries to open proper border crossings for Refugees, and for each to give temporary humanitarian shelter to people fleeing war stricken parts of the world. Let,s say five years temporary residential visa with realistic quotes for each and every country.
Is it not time that we should be abolishing Domestic workers visa.
Is it not time that Slavery and human trafficking should carry a world-wide life sentence for those who are apprehended dealing in human suffering.
(The very nature of human trafficking helps keep modern-day slavery a crime hidden.)
Are governments helping corporations break collective bargaining agreements to lower wages and increase profits?
If the result of working leads to the continued poverty you are trying to get out of, why work at all.
What we see is negative stereotypes about the people commonly found to be victims of human trafficking, especially those involved with prostitution and those with drug addictions.
- The under reporting of sex trafficking victims who are minors
- The role that gangs play in sex trafficking
- Effective counter-trafficking legislation, law enforcement processes and demand-reduction strategies
- Strategies to stabilize and integrate adult survivors of human trafficking.
Human trafficking is believed to be a growing crime, fueled by low risk and the potential for high monetary gain.
Today’s slaves are held through debt bondage, indentured servitude or other forms of control. The exploitation of human beings for profit is everyone’s business. We might not be able to end it, but now we know what’s going on, feeling bad is just not good enough.
Technology has changed the way it’s done.
So why not use technology to attack every link in the exploitation network.
Of course there is no realistic solution while we are all slaves of Consumerism. But we do have a weapon to hurt those that use exploitation. It is in your pocket called spending power.
The world chocolate market is expected to reach $98.3 billion in 2016. A World day of only buying fair trade chocolate would hurt those that use exploited cheap labor.
It is sobering to wonder just how big our individual “slavery footprint” might be. Also it is both foolish and patronising to treat the people caught up in this trade as naive and helpless victims.