Modern Slavery - the Other Side of Modern Society
As it may seem unthinkable, however, there are about 46 million people enslaved in the world right now. Modern slavery exists along all the prosperity and progress that is happening.
There are many forces and organisations fighting against this most often organised crime. Nonetheless the modern slavery is far to be eradicated. UN has set the Sustainable development goal 8 (Decent work and economic growth) to fight against modern slavery and “take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms”. The long-term vision is a world free from: child labour in all forms, with particular attention to the worst; forms of child labour and forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking (SDG Alliance 8.7 by International Labour Organisation).
As the action indicates there are many forms of modern slavery: slavery by descent, bonded labor, forced migrant labor, sex slavery, early or forced marriage, child labor, slavery in fishing industry. All these types of modern slavery offer products and services that we may consume. Some governments tacitly allow modern slavery because it can be quite profitable. Thus, it is important to think about the goods and services that we use or consume, whether and how it was possible to produce them at such low cost. Could the production line (from mining raw materials to sculpting a product) provide so cheaply that particular good? Did they take nature protection into consideration? Did they take fair labour into consideration? Or maybe resource depletion as well as forced labour are the externalities that are not being internalised? When we praise the growth of GDP, do we actually include the enslaved people, who are working every day?
In order to stop modern slavery, we have to be able to spot the forms and manifestations of it in our everyday lives. It is possible to indicate possibly enslaved people as they often look injured and malnourished. They might be living in overcrowded accommodation. They do not have belongings and wear same clothes every day. They are afraid to talk with strangers because they are often threatened not to do so. Moreover, close small communities often help to prevent possible victims from becoming enslaved. As those communities are aware of each member’s situation and alert about some possible criminal acts against one or another member.
The fight against modern slavery is at least twofold from a regular citizen point of view: One, being aware of the produce that we consume and, two, recognising people who might be in danger or already enslaved.
Author: Zemartas Budrys / Homo Eminens