Slavery has been very much in the media recently. Few must have missed the images of social-disorder and the toppling of statues broadcast on social and mainstream media, and the very heated arguments this generated. In the ensuing debates, attempts were made to focus attention on modern slavery.
Slavery tragically is alive and flourishing in the 21stcentury. It is happening as we speak and under our noses.
It is estimated that 40 million people globally are victims of modern slavery or trafficking. Over 70% of these people are women and girls, many of whom are trapped in sexual exploitation.
The Trafficking in Persons report 2020
The US Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report is published annually and measures countries’ efforts to comply with the “minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking” based on a tier ranking system.
The United States considers “trafficking in persons,” “human trafficking,” and “modern slavery” to be interchangeable umbrella terms that refer to both sex and labour trafficking. It encompasses involuntary servitude, slavery or practices similar to slavery, debt bondage, and forced labour.
The US’s Trafficking Victims Protection Act (“TVPA”) defines “severe forms of trafficking in persons” as:
“sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age; or the recruitment, harbouring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labour or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.
A victim need not be physically transported from one location to another for the crime to fall within this definition.”
Here is a snapshot from the 2020 report and this is of course just an example and it’s from Guinea:
“As reported over the past five years, human traffickers exploit domestic and foreign victims in Guinea, and traffickers exploit victims from Guinea abroad. Women and children are the most vulnerable to trafficking. Parents send girls to intermediaries who subject them to forced labour in domestic service and sex trafficking. Traffickers exploit boys in forced labour in begging, street vending, shoe shining, mining for gold and diamonds, in herding, fishing, and agriculture, including farming and on coffee, cashew, and cocoa plantations. Some government entities and NGOs allege forced labour within Guinea is most prevalent in the mining sector. Traffickers exploit men, women, and children in forced labour in agriculture. Reports indicate children are sent to the coastal region of Boke for forced labour on farms.”
Readers and listeners may rightly conclude that this is modern-day slavery.
In future podcasts, we will explore other issues arising from modern day slavery but in this episode, we discuss “trauma bonding”.