December 10, 1948 – United Nations – Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 4: No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.
“Slavery was, in a very real sense, the first international human rights issue to come to the fore. It led to the adoption of the first human rights laws and to the creation of the first human rights non-governmental organization. And yet despite the efforts of the international community to combat this abhorrent practice, it is still widely prevalent in all its insidious forms, old and new.” Kofi Annan
”Slavery was abolished 150 years ago, right? While it is true that slavery is illegal almost everywhere on earth, the fact is there are more slaves today than there ever were.” Robert Alan
2.5 million people are in forced labour, including sexual exploitation, at any given time as a result of trafficking. 600K-800K people are trafficked yearly. 56% are in Asia and the Pacific. Most victims are between 18 and 24. 95% experience physical or sexual violence.
What is a slave? A contemporary slave is a person held against their will, controlled by violence and paid nothing for their work — the same definition as slaves 150 years ago. Slaves are bought to perform physical labour, to be sexually exploited, to be used as mules…to be robbed of their humanity and freedom.
Some slaves are bought…some find themselves in debt bondage, at times involving generations of one family…some are promised a future if they trust the traffickers…and some are stolen.
In 1850, the average price for a slave was the equivalent to $40,000. Today, if any price is paid, it is $100. The trafficking industry reaps 800% in profit. Our wallets are ‘the temple of the 21st century’ (John Ortberg). There is no incentive to maintain even a low level of well-being for the slaves; they are ‘disposable‘. They are controlled, often through fear, violence and drug use, until they are no longer useful; and then are thrown away.
In some countries, though slavery is illegal, it is generally accepted. Other countries lack the ressources to stop the trade. In every country, it is difficult to determine if someone is working against their will. We often think of such issues only reaching impoverished or just ‘far-away’ countries…but human trafficking IS happening in your city. It is happenng all over Northern Ireland (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/8675275.stm), it is happening all over the US (http://www.sexandmoneyfilm.com), it is happening all over the world.
Even after the slaves have been freed, they suffer immense psychological and physical trauma from something that often is the only way of life they have ever known – “It’s as if all identity has been stolen from them, except their identity as slaves.”Kevin Bales. Therefore the biological, psychological and social aspects of a life of slavery must be addressed in aftercare.
Please take a few minutes to read this interactive online leaflet…it contains very accessible information and a few stories that are, frankly, heart-wrenching. Be sure to watch Long Pross’ story. http://love146.org/slavery
”The worst disease is the disease of being forgotten.’ Mother Teresa… so we remember.