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It is amazing that even in the 21st century slavery is still prevalent not only in the developing countries, but also in developed nations. Statistics reveals that on average 700,000 people are trafficked internationally, while worldwide research reveal that approximately between 12 and 27 million people are involved in slavery either inform of forced labor, sex trafficking or bonded labor.
On an annual basis, nearly 175,000 individuals find themselves in the United States through trafficking, according to estimates. Thus, it is clear that despite all the efforts that have been put forward to fight slavery, the menace still prevails and even in the United States. It is therefore necessary that all nations undertake appropriate measures to combat the menace.
Various forms of modern slavery
Slavery has persisted for that long because of the increased demand for free and cheap goods and services which can only be assured through slavery. The peril has evolved from being referred as slavery and currently it is being regarded as human trafficking.
Human trafficking is a kind of exploitation where women, men and children are recruited and forced to work against their consent for free or low pay. There are various forms of modern slavery that range from chattel slavery, Debt bondage forced labor and contact slavery among others.
Chattel slavery is often regarded as the oldest type of slavery that was mostly common in the mid 18000 when people were being abducted from their homes, inherited or given as gifts to work in farm plantations. These people were regarded as the property of their masters to do as he/she wishes with them.
This trade was later abolished. Nowadays this form of slavery is very rare as it is illegal and easy to crack down. The existing Chattel slavery is considered as being very abusive and dangerous since it is illegal and no longer regulated by the government as there before.
In the 18th century when this form of slavery was legal the slave owners headed specific conditions that were put into place by the government to regulate the trade. Nowadays chattel slavery is never controlled; the slavers owners abuse their slaves very much since they do not care as they are never monitored (Warren par. 4).
Forced labor is another form of slavery. This kind of slavery is common mostly in developing nations and especially those that are not politically stable. This occurs when one political faction takes captives civilians from the rivalry group and forces them to work under violence, threats or reprisal.
Examples of such type of slavery is where militia groups takes captives the civilians and abuse them sexually or use them for munitions transport or production. It is very rare and only prevalent in unstable governments such as Congo and Sudan (Warren par. 5).
Debt bondage is the most common type of modern slavery today. Debt slavery initiates when the master gives the slave a small loan whose payment method is in form of work. In this process the slave owner pays the slave very mingle wages from where he/she further deducts exorbitant house rent and food.
Thus, the debt continuous to increase hence ensuring that the slave gives a life time service to him/her. Debt bondage slavery gives the slave owner a high profit margin and also gives him/her a form of pretense for legality. This form of slavery is more prevalent in third world countries where poverty is dominant (Warren, par. 6).
Contract slavery is a form of slavery that is common in developed nations such as United Sates. Contract slavery occurs when people who had visited developed nations from third world countries come back home abroad well dressed and with money and trick young people to accompany them there for decent jobs.
The residents agree and travel using fake documents. When they arrive there things change and instead of getting the decent jobs they were promised are forced to work in brothel or textile factories with low or no pay.
Most of these people sell their properties at home to pay for the money solicited by the agents taking them abroad to cater for processing their travel documents and transport.
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Others who do not have properties to sell to raise the money required borrow from friends and family members to refund it once they get there and secure those decent jobs they are promised.
The fear of the debts back at home and fear of deportations due to lack of proper travel documents prevent these slaves from reporting their situations to necessary authorities. This makes such people to end up in different various forms of slavery (Warren par. 7).
Causes of Human Trafficking
The question of the reasons of human trafficking is a complex one to answer since there are various causes for it, but the majors causes include;
Poverty and Inequality: It is evident that human trafficking involves trafficking people from poor countries to relatively wealthier nations. The circumstance of lack of economic activities in a country is a major reason why individual accepts to move from their families and support structures to go to foreign countries to look for a better livelihood.
Most of their family members see it fruitful to go into debt to raise the money solicited by the agents and secure one of their own an opportunity to travel abroad to get a well paying job. Once away from home and with the debt incurred for the travel it becomes very difficult for many to leave their situations of exploitations and solicit for assistance from relevant bodies.
Thai is good example of a country where individuals leave their country to travel to Europe or United States for search of better jobs. Still in Thai there is also internal trafficking whereby people are trafficked from the marginalized poor rural areas to the urban centers that are richer (Brinkley 6).
Gender Discrimination: There are diverse ways through which gender discrimination results. In some societies girls and women are discriminated in terms of unequal opportunity to education or employment.
This occurs in societies where women are regarded as secondary to men. In most such instance girls and women are more often abused by their family members or by the community for being under educated and unskilled.
To escape such instances, such women/girls are forced by circumstances to travel far in foreign countries to work as domestic workers and live in someone else houses. This increases their risk of being sexually abused. Alternatively, they are forced to work in the sex industry that is better paying but risky.
The two occupations are characterized by regulated and usually low status work. This form of work happens behind the scenes to avoid detection by authorities.
Women/girls in these situations have very minimal control on their environment and that’s why most of the traffickers target them. Gender discrimination can occur in situations where stereotypes hold.
For instances some societies believe that men/boys should not report instances of abuse since it will portray them as being weak. Similarly many societies perceive men as the bread winners. In such societies men are forced to take risky decisions such as traveling to foreign countries to provide for their families (Brinkley 7).
Child vulnerability: on a global scale, statistics show that an increasing number of families are now relying on their children to work and earn extra income. It is obvious that children are prone to abuse and exploitation and especially when they do not have responsible care givers.
Under certain circumstances, some parents have been known to collect a fee from child traffickers. In some other situations parents are known to hand over their kids to trusted people to work for them for some small fee.
Some of these people happen to be traffickers who promise the parents to take good care of their children, but instead exploit them sexually or abuse them in other ways such as overworking them for little pay. This is prevalent to those children that live in unstable families where parents are drug addicts or those living in orphanages or with distant relatives (Trafficking in Children 8-10).
Violence, conflict: Presence of sexual abuse or violence within the family aggravates the degree of trafficking. Additionally, the existence of conflicts in civil societies and lack of rule of law can worsen individuals to become more prone to actions of trafficking (Bales 3).
Demand and supply: Traffickers ensure the existence of cheap, exploitable and unregulated labor. Such labors include child sex tourism, internet pornography among others. Given the fact that there is demand for cheap and exploitable labor, this only acts to make the situation even worse.
Alternatively, the demand also occurs to those that generate income from the trafficking. They include the trafficking agents, brokers and their transporters. Similarly the increase in the supply of cheap sex workers can contribute to a higher demand for the services from them (Modern Slavery 6).
Solutions to End Human Trafficking
There is a need for all bodies concerned to come up with appropriate strategies to end the cotemporary slavery that has taken the form of human trafficking. Among the measures to be exercised include; Establishing and empowering grassroots movements to educate the public about human trafficking in the most vulnerable areas.
Such movements are well known for educating the public concerning the matter and enhancing public awareness on human trafficking considerably. They should be well structured with relevant policies and well funded to realize their objective. They should work with other related bodies and concerned governments to be more effective (Warren par. 4).
The second resolution that needs to be undertaken to curtail human trafficking is to enforce both the local and international laws that regulate human trafficking.
It is ironical that despite the presence of four international treaties that burn slavery, slavery is still very prevalent globally. Thus, the enforcement of both the local and international treaty will help greatly to fight slavery. This is because governments concerned have a lot of power to fight the human trafficking menace (Aaronson par. 5).
Another solution that can assist greatly to fight the menace is the use of product identification strategy whereby products that are manufacture without the use of slave labor are identified and given special label to differentiate them from the rest.
This will help consumer understand the history of the products they are about to purchase and make informed decision (Ending Modern Slavery 6).
In conclusion it is apparent that the contemporary slavery will end when firms accepts not to relay on supplies produced by slave labor. These companies will also expose their rival companies that may use the exploitative slave labor to reduce their cost of production to help them offer them at a lesser cost. In addition both the developed and developing countries require establishing strategies that will ensure that there is equal opportunity for all in terms of education, employment and power. It is only this process that wills guarantee the word a society free of slavery.
Aaronson, Susan. “Can Fight Modern Slavery”. Tom Paine. Commonsense.2008.Web.
Bales, Kevin. “The Social Psychology of Modern Slavery.” Scientific American Apr. 2002: 80
Brinkley, Joel. “U.S. Report Details Modern ‘Slave’ Trade.” Milwaukee Journal Sentinal. 02 Apr. 2000, final ed.: 55A
“Ending Modern Slavery.” The Christian Science Monitor 01 Oct. 1993.
“Modern Slavery: People for Sale” US Government Info.2011. 17 May 2011.
“Trafficking in Children.” The New York Times 04 May. 2001, late (east coast) ed.: A24.
Warren, Andrew. “Iniquity: Modern Slavery”. The rational argumentator. A journal for Western Man.20 June 2003.