Top 10 Ways in which Slavery still Exist
When we hear the term ‘slavery’, all we remember is the Trans-Atlantic slave trade of the African laborers, sent or sold to work in the western countries and the citizens of European colonized countries. They were treated inhumanly, transported, sold and made to work 24/7 with no proper shelter, food, clothing, salary, thrown far away from their families, dreaming an impossible dream of returning to their loved ones some day, a dream that would never come true. They were just treated like filthy beings, not even worthy of living in the society. Laborers were not considered as fellow humans. They were just viewed as unpaid, work machines with no right to live as they wish. Now in this 21st century, we all live with an assumption that all those horrible times are over and people in the world live freely breathing fresh air of ultimate freedom. But you know what? We are actually wrong.
Do you know slavery still exists in our society? Slaves are everywhere. Mines, households, brothels, factories, restaurants, cafeterias, malls, just everywhere! It’s called modern slavery. In fact the number of victims of modern slavery is awfully higher when compared to those of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. They are not exactly called as slaves since slavery is illegal. Instead more polished words are used to hide the fact to represent modern slavery.
The fact that slavery is estimated to be a multi-billion dollar industry that generates about 35 billion dollars annually! Some cases of slavery are unknown, while most of them are open secrets. They live like common people, they blend in with the society that they are just not spotted. They undergo silent slavery, muted by their owners and employers by threats and false hopes.
Here are the 10 ways in which modern slavery exists.
10. Bonded Labor
Bonded labor is almost everywhere. Here a person is usually given a huge amount as loan and made to work in order to repay the amount. Usually the amount of work is too high and the loan is also quite higher than the salary, thus the laborer can never repay by working throughout his life. Sometimes, if the amount is not repaid, the debt is carried over by the next generation and they too become the slaves until they pay back. It is also called the debt bondage.
In modern days, people are tricked to work abroad and are made to borrow a huge amount of money for their travel and other expenses. After reaching the country, they are made to work until they repay all the expenses and money borrowed, and sent back once it is settled which never happens even if they work day and night, years together as their wages are meager when compared to the debt. It exists widely in Africa, Caribbean and South East Asian countries. It is estimated by ILO (International Labor Organization) that a minimum of 11.7 million people are forced into bonded labor in the Asia-Pacific countries.
9. Prison Labor
This is a different story. The prisoners are the laborers here and are treated like slaves. Apart from being imprisoned, they are tormented by tough physical work, sometimes it is the reason for their imprisonment. The work done can be productive or sometimes just to give them physical torture. Countries like China and North Korea use their prison inmates as slaves, laborers.
8. Child Soldier
Being a child soldier is also a kind of modern slavery as it involves forcing an innocent child to work for military use. The child could be directly involved in hostilities or the child can be used as a spy, messenger, etc., or they can be used as human shields, which means the child is used as a protection for the actual combatants! How could these combatants call themselves soldiers when they use a child as bait and shield for their own lives! Child soldiers are seen in almost many countries of Africa, Asia and Australia.
7. Slavery by Descent
Slavery itself is cruel enough. If it is because of ones own deeds, well we can say it is the slaves’ fault to some extent for his ignorance (practically speaking). But, what can we say if the child born to a slave automatically becomes a slave, which implies the new born child is the property of the master? That is called slavery by descent. A person born in a particular community or caste is considered a slave to the master of that community. Sometimes, every child born in the slaves’ family also becomes a slave. This means, there is no escape for several generations to come as the master’s family and upcoming generations remain masters while that of the slaves’ remain slaves forever! This kind of slavery takes place highly in countries like Niger, Mauritania, and Mali.
6. Child Labor
This is a heart crunching form of slavery where the tender, innocent, ignorant, young children who know nothing about poverty and the greed of the society are made to work in hazardous work environments like mines, firework industries, factories, etc,. It is estimated by ILO that over 153 million children within the age of 5-14, are under child labor. They are deprived of education, proper shelter and care. They work all day and night while all the other safe children in the world enjoy playing in the park and learning mathematics, science and new technologies in school and having a loving atmosphere in their homes with a healthy environment to grow up. These children do not even know that they are being forced to work. They do not know how to escape from slavery. They are just caught in a cage by those ruthless employers as children offer cheaper labor. Most parents too send their children to work due to poverty and lack of facilities to provide for the child’s fundamental necessities. The risk of children suffering child labor is high in the Sub Saharan African region, Myanmar and North Korea.
5. Early / Forced Marriage
Marriage is supposed to be the ceremony of uniting two loving hearts. But in many countries, young women and children are forced to marry against their will, which is quite an irony. They are made to live in servitude, domestic violence accompanied by physical abuse. Children are married to older men and are deprived of their childhood and fundamental rights. There are also pleasure marriages where the marriage does not require a divorce since it is just for pleasure of the groom and it is usually done between an older man and young girl. The parents or the families decide the marriage and the bride’s or bridegroom’s consent is not taken into consideration. Most women survive, dying day by day with no chance of escape from the marriage undergoing all kinds of physical and mental torture in this heartless male chauvinistic kind of slavery. Niger, Bangladesh and Guinea have the highest recorded early marriage rates over 20%, below the age of 15, while forced marriages is high in South Asia, Bangladesh, Africa and Niger.
There is something else called “Bride Buying”! It is an illegal trade involving the purchase of a bride to become the buyer’s property! This is a very old practice in India and China!
4. Unfree Labor
Well, this is another cruel form of slavery where a slave is bound by captivity, threat and violence. In most cases they are threatened and undergo hardships due to the fear caused by the threat or their family members are threatened! Their passport is seized or confiscated, so that the slave is stuck in some foreign country and he can never escape or go back to his native. Sometimes the slave is kept under captivity as a domestic servant with no choice of free life. Unfree labor is also called forced labor. The payment for the labor is even worse. They are paid in such a way that it can not be exchanged or it is too low that it does not provide for the basic needs. The payment could also be the cancellation of debt, which is like the slave works as a repayment of the debt! It is estimated by the ILO that over 12.3 million people in the world are victims of unfree or forced labor.
This is another form of child slavery. It is highly prevalent in Haiti. Restavec is a term of French origin meaning ‘one who stays with’ and it refers to a child. A child who is sent by the parents to another family, usually well to do ones, hoping for a better life for the child as the parents can not afford for the child’s basic needs. Poverty and illiteracy is the main reason behind this kind of slavery. Once the child is sent away, the child loses contact with its family and is subjected to slavery. Restavecs work long hours in very poor work environments which are very harmful for their health. They are deprived of normal childhood and freedom. They are neither paid for the hard work that they do nor educated. Some children are also sexually harassed and abused by their owners. Haiti’s population is 8 million where 300,000 of the children are Restavecs!
2. Sexual Slavery
People are exploited sexually either by single owners and sexual slavery also includes some of the religious practices like “Trokosi” in Benin/Ghana/Togo, which may not be involved initially with sexual exploitation but forced sex and prostitution are quite common. Many children are also trafficked and sold for sexual slavery. Women and children are trafficked and sold to other countries through various illegal agents. These children and women are forced into prostitution with no way out! It is found that the major sources for persons trafficked for sexual slavery is from Thailand, Nigeria and China.
1. Human Trafficking
The major form of modern slavery is human trafficking. People are sold for their organs, tissues, forced labor, sexual exploitation, surrogacy and ova removal. They are made to work and offer service usually by coercion. People are trafficked both nationally as well as internationally and it poses great threat to every human being’s right to live inn the society! Poverty and lack of education are found to be the major causes for human trafficking as most people think migrating from one country to another as an opportunity to offer better living conditions for their family without knowing the actual plot behind the migration. Child trafficking, sex trafficking are some of the major forms of human trafficking.
Human Trafficking industry estimates to 32 billion dollars per year in international trade!
Well, people are not only forced to work, they are even forced to ‘love’, ‘bought’, what not! This cruel world is filled with seriously dirty human-like creatures. Looks like we live in a “very safe” world with a better tomorrow for international slavery and human trade! Duh.