It is easy to think of slavery as a shameful part of an unfair past but to think in that way is to ignore the almost 21 million people now trapped in modern slavery. It is a shameful reality and one that we must all play our part in ending.
Modern slavery can be a hard concept to grasp, after all, there was a time when slavery was legal and now it is not, that should be enough right? Not nearly. The world already has in place a consciousness and agreement that slavery is unjust but that consciousness is sometimes skimmed over in a bid to maximize personal gain.
The over 21 million people who are trapped in modern slavery generate close to $150 billion each year in illicit profits for traffickers and because the slavery practiced in this day and age is so hidden, it is harder for these slaves to call out for help.
Labor slavery (where individuals are employed in forced labor across various industries), sex slavery and child slavery are some forms in which modern slavery can manifest. The slavery flows through our homes, offices, and schools through many of the products we buy.
In Africa, slaves harvest cocoa that ends up in our chocolate or…that end up in the phones and other devices that we use (including the one used to type this article). Tomatoes, cotton, diamonds, iron, sugar, and gold are just some of the food products and raw materials that are tainted by modern slavery, making each and every one of us personally responsible.
It is a long road to abolishing this type of slavery which sometimes coasts by unnoticed. Harder still because economic and social forces in our world today enable its alarming resurgence because of increase in the vulnerability of people. Governments are lax in punishing its manifestations, immigration has left a good number of people without viable options and even population explosion leaves people in their own countries disadvantaged.
Our role in ending modern slavery lies in our holding ourselves, our governments and corporations that produce our goods to higher standards. Large corporations like Nestle and tech giants Samsung, Apple and Sony have been taking to task in recent times for promoting child slavery in Africa by some of their practices.
Free the slaves, a charity fighting modern slavery shares some thoughts on how you can take action, some of which include; spreading the word that slavery does still exist to everyone around you, being a mindful consumer, investor, or corporation by finding out if there’s slavery in your shopping cart, investment portfolio, or products and also donating funds or needed items to anti-trafficking organizations.