Modern Day Slavery:
Contemporary slavery refers to the institutions of slavery that continue to exist in the present day. Estimates of the number of slaves today range from 12 million to 27 million. Slavery is a multi-billion dollar industry with estimates of up to $35 billion generated annually.
EXAMPLES OF MODERN DAY SLAVERY INCLUDE:
- Bonded labour
- Child labour
- Human trafficking
- Forced marriage
Nearly 21 million people are working as modern day slaves, falling victim to trafficking, forced labor and sexual exploitation, a new UN report finds. The illicit market in exploited people generates billions of dollars in profit worldwide.
The report by the International Labour Organization (ILO), which draws on information gathered in a 2012 survey, also found that annual profits stemming from forced labor are three times higher than previous estimates.
Adapted from ILO's and the UN's report on modern day slavery
WHY DOES SLAVERY STILL EXIST?
In more recent times, slavery has been outlawed in all countries, but it continues through the practices of debt bondage, indentured servitude, serfdom, domestic servants kept in captivity, certain adoptions in which children are forced to work as slaves, child soldiers, and forced marriage.
WHO DOES IT AFFECT?
Although modern-day slavery affects a cross-section of the population, some groups are more vulnerable. Unsurprisingly, women and girls are more at risk than men and boys. Women make up the majority of those being exploited – 55% are women and girls, and account for the vast majority of sexually exploited people. Children make up a quarter of all those in slavery.
Slaves usually come from the most vulnerable, minority or socially excluded groups. For instance, forced and bonded labour is often interlinked with the caste system in south Asia. Caste-based slavery is carried down through the generations, embedded in traditional beliefs and customs, and underpinned by cultural discrimination. Anti-Slavery International estimates that 80-98% of bonded labourers in the region are from dalit (formerly "untouchable") or indigenous communities. Migrant workers are also highly vulnerable.
HOW CAN IT BE STOPPED?
1. Public awareness has to grow, and there has to be public agreement that it is time to end slavery once and for all. This public commitment must be communicated to politicians.
2. Money needs to be spent to eradicate slavery, but not nearly as much as you might think. For the price of a bomber or a battleship, the amount of slavery in the world could be dramatically reduced.
3. Governments must enforce their own anti-slavery laws. To make this happen every country has to understand that they must take action or face serious pressure. We all know about the United Nations weapons inspectors, who enforce the Conventions against Weapons of Mass Destruction, but where are the United Nations Slavery Inspectors? When the same effort is put behind searching out and ending slavery, there will be rapid change.