Slavery Still Exists
Updated: Jul 21, 2022
“After moving, he quickly realized the factory owners had lied about what his role and work conditions would be. Forbidden from leaving his work site, [he] had no choice but to work 12-hour shifts packaging chemicals under hazardous conditions.”
They pick the food you eat. They hold out cups at your vacation destinations. They run marathons in your state. You have seen these people, often children, often women, often working 12-hour days in labor-intensive industries with no privileges afforded to them. Usually without a retirement account to pay into, no permission to move freely, and no medical coverage - just small amounts of cash which they may or may not be able to keep.
I will admit to being a beneficiary because Germany, Italy, and Austria mask their participation in modern slavery as “seasonal migrant workers”. Even with the best intentions, humans residing in privileged, wealthy countries are passively contributing to incentivizing modern slavery.
For example, the first-world demands more subsidies for electric car manufacturers despite the prospect of zero-emission electric cars on western roads incentivizes the dark trade of “conflict minerals” in the Congo which are essential for manufacturing batteries.
Much like how the seemingly harmless demand for sugar fueled the Trans-Atlantic and African Slave trades, our connotations of “decent” and “comfortable” are disassociated with reality - much like our minimum wage - and reward predatory capitalism in eternally-emerging markets. How long must a nation’s market be considered “emerging” or “developing” before we are forced to question their progression?
“After arriving, her employer told her she would need to work for two months without a salary to repay her relocation expenses.”
In 2017, the modern slave trade earned a global profit of 150 billion U.S. dollars by enslaving 24.9 million people. For context, that is the equivalent of earning Elon Musk’s entire net worth [in 2002] in one year solely from the profits of enslaving the entire population of Florida, U.S.A, or Australia or Cameroon.
For twenty years, the U.S. Department of State has publish annual reports highlighting and reinforcing global anti-trafficking norms and ideals at a time when most governments were (and still are) too comfortable denying the existence of modern slavery when they should be combating it.
“After a few months, however, it became clear he was using Ted’s mother to get closer to Ted. Ultimately, he succeeded in forcing Ted to engage in commercial sex.”
Wherever you are, whoever you are, you can help abolish modern slavery.
Here is how:
1. Read the report and learn where your country ranks in reporting, preventing or combating modern slavery.
2. If applicable, copy and paste the “PRIORITIZED RECOMMENDATIONS” for your country and share it with your elected officials and/or on social media.
3. Support organizations which empower vulnerable persons and keeps them safe from human traffickers. Organizations such as The Fund for Global Human Rights and Human Rights First boast an “A” rating by ChartiyWatch for legitimacy, efficiency, and effectiveness. How much longer are you willing to passively allow the existence of slavery during your lifetime? Because it does exist and we have all benefited from it.
*All quoted text are excerpts from the 20th Edition of the Trafficking in Persons report published by U.S. Department of State for 2020.
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About the author
Born in Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Chris Perry travels the world as he writes for and manages the Grey Point of View. His hobbies include mastering the art of web design, navigating global news, and studying weapons of mass destruction.
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