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Contemporary slavery, also known as modern slavery or neo-slavery, refers to institutional slavery that continues to occur in present-day society. Estimates of the number of slaves today range from around 38 millionto 46 million, depending on the method used to form the estimate and the definition of slavery being used. The estimated number of slaves is debated, as there is no universally agreed definition of modern slavery; those in slavery are often difficult to identify, and adequate statistics are often not available. The International Labour Organization estimates that, by their definitions, over 40 million people are in some form of slavery today. 24.9 million people are in forced labor, of whom 16 million people are exploited in the private sector such as domestic work, construction or agriculture; 4.8 million persons in forced sexual exploitation, and 4 million persons in forced labor imposed by state authorities. 15.4 million people are in forced marriage.
The Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, an agency of the United States Department of State, says that "'modern slavery', 'trafficking in persons', and 'human trafficking' have been used as umbrella terms for the act of recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing or obtaining a person for compelled labor or commercial sex acts through the use of force, fraud, or coercion". Besides these, a number of different terms are used in the US federal Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 and the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, including "involuntary servitude", "slavery" or "practices similar to slavery", "debt bondage", and "forced labor".
According to American professor Kevin Bales, co-founder and former president of the non-governmental organization and advocacy group Free the Slaves, modern slavery occurs "when a person is under the control of another person who applies violence and force to maintain that control, and the goal of that control is exploitation".The impact of slavery is expanded when targeted at vulnerable groups such as children. According to this definition, research from the Walk Free Foundation based on its Global Slavery Index 2018 estimated that there were about 40.3 million slaves around the world. In another estimate that suggests the number is around 45.8 million, it is estimated that around 10 million of these contemporary slaves are children. Bales warned that, because slavery is officially abolished everywhere, the practice is illegal, and thus more hidden from the public and authorities. This makes it impossible to obtain exact figures from primary sources. The best that can be done is to estimate based on secondary sources, such as UN investigations, newspaper articles, government reports, and figures from NGOs. Modern slavery persists for many of the same reasons older variations did: it is an economically beneficial practice despite the ethical concerns. The problem has been able to escalate in recent years due to the disposability of slaves and the fact that the cost of slaves has dropped significantly.
Since slavery has been officially abolished, enslavement no longer revolves around legal ownership, but around illegal control. Two fundamental changes are the move away from the forward purchase of slave labour, and the existence of slaves as an employment category. While the statistics suggest that the 'market' for exploitative labour is booming, the notion that humans are purposefully sold and bought from an existing pool is outdated. While such basic transactions do still occur, in contemporary cases people become trapped in slavery-like conditions in various ways.
Modern slavery is often seen as a by-product of poverty. In countries that lack education and the rule of law, poor societal structure can create an environment that fosters the acceptance and propagation of slavery. Slavery is most prevalent in impoverished countries and those with vulnerable minority communities, though it also exists in developed countries. Tens of thousands toil in slave-like conditions in industries such as mining, farming, and factories, producing goods for domestic consumption or export to more prosperous nations.
In the older form of slavery, slave-owners spent more on getting slaves. It was more difficult for them to be disposed of. The cost of keeping them healthy was considered a better investment than getting another slave to replace them. In modern slavery people are easier to get at a lower price so replacing them when exploiters run into problems becomes easier. Slaves are then used in areas where they could easily be hidden while also creating a profit for the exploiter. Slaves are more attractive for unpleasant work, and less for pleasant work.
Modern slavery can be quite profitable,and corrupt governments tacitly allow it, despite it being outlawed by international treaties such as Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery and local laws. Total annual revenues of traffickers were estimated in 2014 to over $150 billion dollars, though profits are substantially lower. American slaves in 1809 were sold for around the equivalent of US$40,000 in today's money. Today, a slave can be bought for $90–$100.
Bales explains, “This is an economic crime ... People do not enslave people to be mean to them; they do it to make a profit.”
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Slavery by descent, also called chattel slavery, is the form most often associated with the word "slavery". In chattel slavery, the enslaved person is considered the personal property (chattel) of someone else, and can usually be bought and sold. It stems historically either from conquest, where a conquered person is enslaved, as in the Roman Empire or Ottoman Empire, or from slave raiding, as in the Atlantic slave trade.In the 21st Century, almost every country has legally abolished chattel slavery, but the number of people currently enslaved around the world is far greater than the number of slaves during the historical Atlantic slave trade.
Since the 2014 Civil War in Libya, and the subsequent breakdown of law and order, there have been reports of enslaved migrants being sold in public, open slave markets in the country.
Mauritania has a long history with slavery. Chattel slavery was formally made illegal in the country but the laws against it have gone largely unenforced. It is estimated that around 90,000 people (over 2% of Mauritania's population) are slaves.
Debt bondage can also be passed down to descendants, like chattel slavery.
Those trapped in the system of sexual slavery in the modern world are often effectively chattel, especially when they are forced into prostitution.
Government-forced labor, also known as state-sponsored labor, is defined by the International Labour Organization as events "which persons are coerced to work through the use of violence or intimidation, or by more subtle means such as accumulated debt, retention of identity papers or threats of denunciation to immigration authorities."When the threats come from the government the threats can be much different. Many governments that participate in forced labor shut down their connections with the surrounding countries to prevent citizens from leaving.
In North Korea, the government forces many people to work for the state, both inside and outside North Korea itself, sometimes for many years. The 2018 Global Slavery Index estimated that 2.8 million people were slaves in the country.The value of all the labor done by North Koreans for the government is estimated at US$975 million, with dulgyeokdae (youth workers) forced to do dangerous construction work, and inminban (women and girl workers) forced to make clothing in sweatshops. The workers are often unpaid. Additionally, North Korea's army of 1.2 million conscripted soldiers is often made to work on construction projects unrelated to defense, including building private villas for the elite. The government has had as many as 100,000 workers abroad.
In Eritrea, an estimated 300,000 to 400,000 people are in an indefinite military service program which amounts to mass slavery, according to UN investigators. Their report also found sexual slavery and other forced labor.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection blocked the importation of black diamonds from Zimbabwe in October 2019, according to a report by Bloomberg News. Zimbabwe, in turn, accused the U.S. government of lying about forced labor at a state-owned diamond mine.
About 35–40 countries are currently enforcing military conscription of some sort, even if it is only temporary service.
Government-forced labor comes in different forms, as governments have also been known to participate in forced-labor practices that do not include military service. In Uzbekistan, for example, the government coerces students and state workers to harvest cotton, of which the country is a main exporter, every year, forcing them to abandon their other responsibilities in the process.In this example the use of students, including those in primary, secondary, and higher education, means that child labor is also prominent.
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In 1865, the United States ratified the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which banned slavery and involuntary servitude "except as punishment for a crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted",providing a legal basis for slavery, now referred to as penal labor, to continue in the country. Historically, this led to the system of convict leasing which still primarily affects African-Americans. The Prison Policy Initiative, an American criminal justice think tank, cites the 2020 US prison population at being 2.3 million individuals, and nearly all able-bodied inmates work in some fashion. In Texas, Georgia, Alabama and Arkansas, prisoners are not paid at all for their work. In other states, prisoners are paid between $0.12 and $1.15 per hour. Federal Prison Industries paid inmates an average of $0.90 per hour in 2017. Inmates that refuse to work may be indefinitely remanded into solitary confinement, or have family visitation revoked. From 2010 to 2015 and again in 2016 and in 2018, some prisoners in the US refused to work, protesting for better pay, better conditions, and for the end of forced labor. Strike leaders were punished with indefinite solitary confinement, and remain there to this day. Forced prison labor occurs in both public/government-run prisons and private prisons. CoreCivic and GEO Group constitute half of the market share of private prisons, and they made a combined revenue of $3.5 billion in 2015. The value of all the labor done by inmates in the United States is estimated to be in the billions. In California, 2,500 incarcerated workers are fighting wildfires for only $1 per hour through the CDCR's Conservation Camp Program, which saves the state as much as $100 million a year.
In China's system of labor prisons (formerly called laogai), millions of prisoners have been subject to forced, unpaid labor. The laogai system is estimated to currently house between 500,000 and 2 million prisoners,and to have caused tens of millions of deaths. In parallel with laogai, China operated the smaller re-education through labor system of prisons up until 2013. In addition to both of these, China is also operating forced labor camps in Xinjiang, imprisoning hundreds of thousands (possibly as many as a million) of Muslims, Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities and political dissidents.
In North Korea, tens of thousands of prisoners may be held in forced labor camps. Prisoners suffer harsh conditions and have been forced to dig their own gravesand to throw rocks at the dead body of another prisoner. At Yodok Concentration Camp, children and political prisoners were subject to forced labor. Yodok closed in 2014 and its prisoners were transferred to other prisons.
In the UK there are three key types of prison labour. Firstly, prisoners can be made to maintain the jail—for example cleaning, maintenance, or working in the kitchens. Second, prisoners have the option to do mundane/repetitive work for external companies; this includes tasks such as bagging nails and packing boxes. Finally, prisoners can work in specialist workshops run by third parties, in which the prisoners can do tasks such as building window-frames, graphic design and other tasks requiring some form of machinery.Reports suggest prisoners in the UK can earn as little as £10 for a 40 hour week's worth of work.
In Australia, prison labour occurs in at least New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and the Northern Territory. Some prisoners work for private companies. In NSW some are paid as little as $0.82 per hour, while in the NT some are paid as much as $16 per hour (compared to $35 per hour for a regular union employee in the same job).
Bonded labor, also known as debt bondage and peonage, occurs when people give themselves into slavery as a security against a loan or when they inherit a debt from a relative.The cycle begins when people take extreme loans under the condition that they work off the debt. The "loan" is designed so that it can never be paid off, and is often passed down for generations. People become trapped in this system working ostensibly towards repayment though they are often forced to work far past the original amount they owe. They work under the force of threats and abuse. Sometimes the debts last a few years, and sometimes the debts are even passed onto future generations.
Bonded labor is used across a variety of industries in order to produce products for consumption around the world.It is most common in India, Pakistan and Nepal.
In India, the majority of bonded laborers are Dalits (Untouchables) and Adivasis (indigenous tribespeople).Puspal, a former brick kiln worker in Punjab, India, stated in an interview to antislavery.org; "We do not stop even if we are ill – what if our debt is increasing? So we don't dare to stop." In India, when compared to the price of land, paid labor or oxen, the price of slaves is currently 95% less than it was in the past.
People may be enticed to migrate with the promise of work, only to have their documents seized and be forced to work under the threat of violence to them or their families.Undocumented immigrants may also be taken advantage of, as without legal residency they often have no legal recourse. Along with sex slavery, this is the form of slavery most often encountered in wealthy countries such as the United States, in Western Europe, and in the Middle East.
In the United Arab Emirates, some foreign workers are exploited and more or less enslaved. The majority of the UAE resident population are foreign migrant workers rather than local Emirati citizens, with there being over 1.7 million migrant workers, making up 90% of Qatar's constructive workforce.The country has a kafala system which is associated with outdated laws and procedures, which ties migrant workers to local Emirati sponsors with very little government oversight. This has often led to forced labor and human trafficking. In 2017, the UAE is pushing towards a better labor system as it has recently passed laws to protect the rights of domestic workers.
Allegations of forced migrant labor have been highlighted within the preparations of stadiums for the Qatar FIFA 2022 World Cup.There have been over 6,500 recorded migrant deaths during the construction of the stadiums. Amnesty International researched into the construction of the stadiums and found 3,200 migrant workers work on the stadiums everyday, in which at least 224 of them have reported abusive and exploitative behaviour. Workers reported issues of expensive recruitment fees, poor living conditions, false salaries, delayed payments of salary, being unable to leave the stadium or camp, being unable to leave the country or change jobs, being threatened, and most importantly forced labour.
Additionally in the UK two individuals in Kent were found guilt of trafficking six Lithuanian men.They were forced to work back to back 8 hour shifts working as chicken catchers. Further investigations into this highlighted the farms these individuals were working at were supplying eggs to large supermarket chains such as Tesco's, Asda and M&S.< Vietnamese teenagers are trafficked to the United Kingdom and forced to work in illegal cannabis farms. When police raid the cannabis farms, trafficked victims are typically sent to prison.
In the United States, various industries have been known to take advantage of forced migrant labor. During the 2010 New York State Fair, 19 migrants who were in the country legally from Mexico to work in a food truck were essentially enslaved by their employer.The men were paid around ten percent of what they were promised, worked far longer days than they were contracted to, and would be deported if they had quit their job as this would be a violation of their visas.
Along with migrant slavery, forced prostitution is the form of slavery most often encountered in wealthy regions such as the United States, in Western Europe, and in the Middle East. It is the primary form of slavery in Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia, particularly in Moldova and Laos. Many child sex slaves are trafficked from these areas to the West and the Middle East. An estimated 20% of slaves to date are active in the sex industry.Sexual exploitation can also become a form of debt bondage when enslavers insist that victims work in the sex industry to pay for basic needs and transportation.
In 2005, the Gulf Times reported that boys from Nepal had been lured to India and enslaved for sex. Many of these boys had also been subject to male genital mutilation (castration).
Many of those who become victims of sex slavery initially do so willingly under the guise that they will be performing traditional sex work, only to become trapped for extended periods of time, such as those involved in Nigeria's human trafficking circuit.
Mainly driven by the culture in certain regions, early or forced marriage is a form of slavery that affects millions of women and girls all over the world. When families cannot support their children, the daughters are often married off to the males of wealthier, more powerful families. These men are often significantly older than the girls. The females are forced into lives whose main purpose is to serve their husbands. This often fosters an environment for physical, verbal and sexual abuse.
Forced marriages also happen in developed nations. In the United Kingdom there were 3,546 reports to the police of forced marriage over three years from 2014 to 2016.
In the United States over 200,000 minors were legally married from 2002 to 2017, with the youngest being only 10 years old. Most were married to adults.Currently 48 US states, as well as D.C. and Puerto Rico, allow marriage of minors as long as there is judicial consent, parental consent or if the minor is pregnant. In 2017–2018, several states began passing laws to either restrict child marriage or ban it altogether.
Bride-buying is the act of purchasing a bride as property, in a similar manner to chattel slavery. It can also be related to human trafficking.
Children comprise about 26% of the slaves today.Although children can legally engage in certain forms of work, children can also be found in slavery or slavery-like situations; although child labor isn't considered slavery, it inevitably hinders their education. Forced begging is a common way that children are forced to participate in labor without their consent. Most are domestic workers or work in cocoa, cotton or fishing industries. Many are trafficked and sexually exploited. Forced child labor is the dominant form of slavery in Haiti.
In war-torn countries, children have been kidnapped and sold to political parties to use as child soldiers.Child soldiers are children who may be trafficked from their homes and forced or coerced by armed forces. The armed forces could be government armed forces, paramilitary organizations, or rebel groups. While in these groups the children may be forced to work as cooks, guards, servants or spies. It is common for both boys and girls to be sexually abused while in these groups.
According to Human Rights Watch, Thailand's billion-dollar fish export industry remains plagued with human rights maltreatment in spite of government vows to stamp out servitude in its angling industry.Human Rights Watch conducted interviews with 248 fishermen, it documented the forced labor of trafficked workers in the Thai fishing industry. Trafficking victims are often tricked by brokers' false promises of "good" factory jobs, then forced onto fishing boats where they are trapped, bought and sold like livestock, and held against their will for months or years at a time, forced to work grueling 22-hour days in dangerous conditions. Those who resist or try to run away are beaten, tortured, and often killed. This is commonplace because of the disposability of unfree laborers.
Despite some improvements, the situation has not changed muchsince a large-scale survey of almost 500 fishers in 2012, that found almost one in five "reported working against their will with the penalty that would prevent them from leaving".
Victims of human trafficking can be made to beg on the streets with the earnings being given back to the traffickers. It has been suggested many children across Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East are forced to beg on the streets.
In addition to sex slavery, modern slaves are often forced to work in certain occupations. Common occupations include:
Signs that someone may have been forced into slavery include a lack of identity documents, lack of personal possessions, clothing that is unsuitable or has seen much wear, poor living conditions, a reluctance to make eye contact, unwillingness to talk, and unwillingness to seek help. In the UK people are encouraged to report suspicions to a modern-slavery telephone helpline.
The European Parliament condemned, 386 — 236 with 59 abstentions, the practice of sending Cuban doctors to fight the COVID-19 pandemic around the world as human trafficking and modern slavery.
The United Nations have defined human trafficking as follows:
The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.
According to United States Department of State data, as of 2013, an "estimated 600,000 to 820,000 men, women, and children [are] trafficked across international borders each year, approximately 70 percent are women and girls and up to 50 percent are minors. The data also illustrates that the majority of transnational victims are trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation."However, "the alarming enslavement of people for purposes of labor exploitation, often in their own countries, is a form of human trafficking that can be hard to track from afar". It is estimated that 50,000 people are trafficked every year in the United States.
In recent years, the internet and popular social networking sites have become tools that traffickers use to find vulnerable people who they can then exploit. A 2017 Reuters report discusses how a woman is suing Facebook for negligence as she speculated that executives were aware of a situation that occurred back in 2012 where she was sexually abused and trafficked by someone posing as her "friend".Social media and smartphone apps are also used to sell the slaves.
In 2016, a Washington Post article exposed that the Obama administration placed migrant children with human traffickers.They failed to do proper background checks of adults who claimed the children, allowed sponsors to take custody of multiple unrelated children, and regularly placed children in homes without visiting the locations. Several Guatemalan teens were found being held captive by traffickers and forced to work at a local egg farm in Ohio.
In the last two decades, as slavery has become more widely recognized as a formidable global epidemic, multiple governmental organizations have begun taking action to address the problem. The US State Department's annual Trafficking In Persons Report assigns grades to every nation in a tier-system based "not on the size of the country’s problem but on the extent of governments’ efforts to meet the TVPA’s minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking".
The governments credited with the strongest response to modern slavery are the Netherlands, the United States, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Australia, Portugal, Croatia, Spain, Belgium, Germany and Norway.
In the United Kingdom, the British government passed the Modern Slavery Act 2015, supported by major reforms in the legal system instituted through the Criminal Finances Act 2017, effective from September 30, 2017. Under the latter act, there is transparency in regards to interbank information sharing with law enforcement agencies to help to crack down on money laundering agencies related to contemporary slavery. The Act also aims at reducing the incidence of tax evasion attributed to the modern slave trade conducted under the domain of the law.Despite this, the government has been refusing asylum and deporting children trafficked to the UK as slaves. Several British charities have claimed this puts the deportees at risk of being subject to control by slavery gangs a second time, and deters child victims from coming forward with information.
The British government has taken specific steps to ensure that modern slavery risks are identified and managed in government supply chains.The government also initiated a nationwide campaign against modern slavery with the use of the modern slavery is closer than you think campaign.
In contrast, the governments accused of taking the least action against it are North Korea, Eritrea, Equatorial Guinea, Hong Kong, Central African Republic, Papua New Guinea, Guinea, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan.
In September 2013, the three anti-slavery donors, the Legatum Foundation, Humanity United and the Walk Free Foundation founded the Freedom Fund. As of December 2019, the Freedom Fund is reported to have impacted 686,468 lives, liberated 27,397 people from modern slavery and helped 56,181 previously out-of-school children to receive either formal or non-formal education, in Nepal, Ethiopia, India and Thailand. Meanwhile, in October 2014, the Freedom Fund, Polaris and the Walk Free Foundation launched the Global Modern Slavery Directory, which was the first publicly searchable database of over 770 organisations working to end forced labor and human trafficking.BT also teamed up with anti-modern slavery campaigners free the unseen.
Modern slavery is a multibillion-dollar industry with just the forced labor aspect generating US $150 billion each year.The Global Slavery Index (2018) estimated that roughly 40.3 million individuals are currently caught in modern slavery, with 71% of those being female, and 1 in 4 being children. As of 2018, the countries with the most slaves were: India (18.4 million), China (3.86 million), Pakistan (3.19 million), North Korea (2.64 million), Nigeria (1.39 million), Indonesia (1.22 million), Democratic Republic of the Congo (1 million), Russia (794,000) and the Philippines (784,000).
Various jurisdictions now require large commercial organizations to publish a slavery and human trafficking statement in regard to their supply chains each financial year (e.g. California,UK, Australia ). The Walk Free Foundation reported in 2018 that 40.3 million people worldwide live in conditions that can be described as slavery. According to the foundation, more than 400,000 of those are in the United States. Andrew Forrest, founder of the organisation, was quoted as saying that "the United States is one of the most advanced countries in the world yet has more than 400,000 modern slaves working under forced labor conditions". In March 2020, released British police records showed that the number of modern slavery offences recorded has increased by more than 50%, from 3,412 cases in 2018 to 5,144 cases in 2019. This coincided with a 68% increase in calls and submissions to the modern slavery helpline over the same time period.
Its estimated a total of 40 million people are trapped within modern slavery, with 1 in 4 of them being children.Furthermore, 71% of modern slaves are women, with there being an estimate of 10,000 potential victims of modern slavery in the UK.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an impact on the global supply chains including factories in Malaysia providing PPE to the NHS in the UK, and an influx of online clothing shopping which has led factories in third world countries to rapidly expand to deal with the influx of demand.A result of this rapid increase in demand for clothes and PPE has led to some companies using the pandemic as an excuse to exploit vulnerable workers, even forcing them to work through the pandemic putting them at risk of contracting the disease. The pandemic has led to multiple impacts across the globe.
Self-isolation and social isolation is a major aspect of the pandemic, and it may increase the chances for young people to be vulnerable to grooming and abuse due to a lack of contact with friends and family.Ordinarily some Quranic schools in West Africa practice forced begging. Since many of the pupils are now residing within the school premises due to the pandemic, they are subject to further abuse/punishment as a result of them not bringing in as much income.
Wealthy families in Mauritania have exploited the pandemic as well, by firing Haratine domestic workers, or allowing them to work on the condition they are confined within the workplace to avoid travel. This entraps the Haratine people, since if they don't take the work they starve, but if they continue to work they leave their families without resources.
The use of lockdowns has been implemented to attempt to stop the spread of the virus. This has led to mass firings as a result of global brands cancelling orders resulting in factories shutting down.By March over 1 million workers in Bangladesh have been fired or suspended. Workers in Cambodia, India, Myanmar and Vietnam have experienced similar problems. A lack of government support for citizens has led to an increase of human trafficking as a result of people turning to bonded labour for survival.
Victims of modern day slavery are often hesitant to go to the authorities for help due to a fear of being criminalised, detained or deported rather than being treated as victims of a crime. Victims of modern day slavery often live in cramped conditions in which the Covid virus can spread quickly.This, along with the combination of being fearful to get help from the authorities such as the NHS, leads to victims catching diseases and potentially dying as a result.
Since most countries have adopted lockdowns, this has led to limited operations of anti-slavery organisations since people were not allowed to meet up during the lockdown. Anti-slavery support services and educational centres have also shut down as a result of the lockdown.
The Home Office has stated the number of suspected modern slavery victims in the UK has fallen for the first time in 4 years, as a result of the pandemic.Officials say this is due to the restrictions implemented in the UK and an increase of self-isolation and businesses shutting.
The national referral mechanism has recorded 2,871 referrals of potential modern day slavery victims in the 1st quarter of 2020, which is a 14% fall from the previous 3 months.There has been an increase of child victims "partially driven" by an increase of county lines.
Peonage, also known as debt slavery or bonded labour, is the pledge of a person's services as security for the repayment for a debt or other obligation, where the terms of the repayment are not clearly or reasonably stated, and the person who is holding the debt thus has some control over the laborer. Freedom is assumed on debt repayment. The services required to repay the debt may be undefined, and the services' duration may be undefined, thus allowing the person supposedly owed the debt to demand services indefinitely. Debt bondage can be passed on from generation to generation.
Child slavery is the slavery of children. The enslavement of children can be traced back through history. Even after the abolition of slavery, children continue to be enslaved and trafficked in modern times, which is a particular problem in developing countries.
Forced labour, or unfree labour, is any work relation, especially in modern or early modern history, in which people are employed against their will with the threat of destitution, detention, violence including death, compulsion, or other forms of extreme hardship to either themselves or members of their families.
Trafficking of children is a form of human trafficking and is defined by the United Nations as the "recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, and/or receipt" kidnapping of a child for the purpose of slavery, forced labor and exploitation. This definition is substantially wider than the same document's definition of "trafficking in persons". Children may also be trafficked for the purpose of adoption.
Sex trafficking is human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation, including sexual slavery, which is considered a form of modern slavery. A victim is forced, in one of a variety of ways, into a situation of dependency on their trafficker(s) and then used by the trafficker(s) to perform sexual services to customers. Sex trafficking crimes can involve acquisition, transportation and exploitation; this includes child sex tourism (CST), domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST) or other kinds of commercial sexual exploitation of children, and prostitution.
"Thailand is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking."Thailand's relative prosperity attracts migrants from neighboring countries who flee conditions of poverty and, in the case of Burma, military repression. Significant illegal migration to Thailand presents traffickers with opportunities to coerce or defraud undocumented migrants into involuntary servitude or sexual exploitation.
Human trafficking is the trade of humans for the purpose of forced labour, sexual slavery, or commercial sexual exploitation for the trafficker or others. This may encompass providing a spouse in the context of forced marriage, or the extraction of organs or tissues, including for surrogacy and ova removal. Human trafficking can occur within a country or trans-nationally. Human trafficking is a crime against the person because of the violation of the victim's rights of movement through coercion and because of their commercial exploitation. Human trafficking is the trade in people, especially women and children, and does not necessarily involve the movement of the person from one place to another.
India has a very high volume of child trafficking. As many as one child disappears every eight minutes, according to the National Crime Records Bureau. In some cases, children are taken from their homes to be bought and sold in the market. In other cases, children are tricked into the hands of traffickers by being presented an opportunity for a job, when in reality, upon arrival they become enslaved. In India, there are many children trafficked for various reasons such as labor, begging, and sexual exploitation. Because of the nature of this crime; it is hard to track; and due to the poor enforcement of laws, it is difficult to prevent. Due to the nature of this crime, it is only possible to have estimates of figures regarding the issue. India is a prime area for child trafficking to occur, as many of those trafficked are from, travel through or destined to go to India. Though most of the trafficking occurs within the country, there is also a significant number of children trafficked from Nepal and Bangladesh. There are many different causes that lead to child trafficking, with the primary reasons being poverty, weak law enforcement, and a lack of good quality public education. The traffickers that take advantage of children can be from another area in India, or could even know the child personally. Children who return home after being trafficked often face shame in their communities, rather than being welcomed home.
Human trafficking in Nepal is a growing criminal industry affecting multiple other countries beyond Nepal, primarily across Asia and the Middle East. Nepal is mainly a source country for men, women and children subjected to the forced labor and sex trafficking. U.S. State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons placed the country in "Tier 2" in 2017.
Niger is a source, transit, and destination country for children and women subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically forced labor and forced prostitution. Caste-based slavery practices, rooted in ancestral master-slave relationships, continue primarily in the northern part of the country. Children are trafficked within Niger for forced begging by religious instructors known as marabouts; forced labor in gold mines, agriculture, and stone quarries; as well as for involuntary domestic servitude and forced prostitution. The ILO estimates at least 10,000 children work in gold mines in Niger, many of whom may be forced to work. Nigerien children, primarily girls, are also subjected to commercial sexual exploitation along the border with Nigeria, particularly in the towns of Birni N'Konni and Zinder along the main highway, and boys are trafficked to Nigeria and Mali for forced begging and manual labor. There were reports Nigerien girls entered into "false marriages" with citizens of Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates: upon arrival in these countries, the girls are often forced into involuntary domestic servitude. Child marriage was a problem, especially in rural areas, and may have contributed to conditions of human trafficking. Niger is a transit country for women and children from Benin, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, and Togo en route to Northern Africa and Western Europe; some may be subjected to forced labor in Niger as domestic servants, forced laborers in mines and on farms, and as mechanics and welders. To a lesser extent, Nigerien women and children are sometimes trafficked from Niger to North Africa the Middle East, and Europe for involuntary domestic servitude and forced commercial sexual exploitation."
Nigeria is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children subjected to trafficking in persons including forced labour and forced prostitution. Trafficked Nigerian women and children are recruited from rural areas within the country's borders – women and girls for involuntary domestic servitude and sexual exploitation, and boys for forced labour in street vending, domestic servitude, mining, and begging.
Human trafficking is the trade of humans, most commonly for the purpose of forced labour, sexual slavery, or commercial sexual exploitation for the trafficker or others. Mexico is a large source, transit, and destination country for victims of human trafficking.
China is a main source and also a significant transit and destination country for men, women, and children who are subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically forced labour and forced prostitution. Women and children from China are trafficked to Africa, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and North America, predominantly Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, and Japan for commercial sexual exploitation and forced labour. Women and children from Myanmar, Vietnam, Mongolia, former USSR, North Korea, Romania, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan and Ghana are trafficked to China for commercial sexual exploitation and forced labour.
Costa Rica is a source, transit, and destination country for goods and products, a great location for trade in the seas. Costa Rica is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea making it a source of imports and exports. Costa Rica is approximately 19,653 square miles of land, making it smaller than West Virginia. To a lesser but increasing extent, Costa Rica is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to conditions of forced labor, particularly in the agriculture, construction, fishing, and domestic service sectors. The economy greatly depends on the exportation of bananas and coffee, making high demands of agriculture work. Costa Rican women and children are forced into commercial sexual exploitation due to high rates of poverty and violence. Women and girls from Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Colombia, and Panama have been identified in as victims of forced prostitution. Child sex tourism is a serious problem, particularly in the provinces of Guanacaste, Limon, Puntarenas, and San José. Child sex tourists arrive mostly from the United States and Europe. Young men from Nicaragua, Vietnam, China and other Asian countries are subjected to conditions of forced labor in Costa Rica. Adults have been identified using trafficked women and children to transport and sell drugs. Neighboring countries and cities are victims as well to forced labor many times trafficked to Costa Rica.
The trafficking of persons is the fastest growing and most profitable criminal activity after drug and arms trafficking. According to the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, human trafficking is defined as follows: “Trafficking in persons shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.”
Human trafficking in California is the illegal trade of human beings for the purposes of reproductive slavery, commercial sexual exploitation, and forced labor as it occurs in the state of California. Human trafficking, widely recognized as a modern-day form of slavery, includes
"the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons by means of threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power, or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs."
Slavery in Haiti started after the arrival of Christopher Columbus on the island in 1492 with the European colonists that followed from Portugal, Spain and France. The practice was devastating to the native population. Following the indigenous Tainos' near decimation from forced labor, disease and war, the Spanish, under advisement of the Catholic priest Bartolomé de las Casas and with the blessing of the Catholic church, began engaging in earnest in the 1600 kidnapped and forced labor of enslaved Africans. During the French colonial period beginning in 1625, the economy of Haiti was based on slavery, and the practice there was regarded as the most brutal in the world. The Haitian Revolution of 1804, the only successful slave revolt in human history, precipitated the end of slavery not only in Saint-Domingue, but in all French colonies. However, this revolt has only merited a marginal role in the histories of Portuguese and Spanish America. Moreover, it is to this rebellion in Haiti that the struggle for independence in Latin American can be traced to. However, several Haitian leaders following the revolution employed forced labor, believing a plantation-style economy was the only way for Haiti to succeed, and building fortifications to safeguard against attack by the French. During the U.S. occupation between 1915 and 1934, the U.S. military forced Haitians to work building roads for defense against Haitian resistance fighters.
Human trafficking in Southeast Asia has long been a problem for the area and is still prevalent today. It has been observed that as economies continue to grow, the demand for labor is at an all-time high in the industrial sector and the sex tourism sector. A mix of impoverished individuals and the desire for more wealth creates an environment for human traffickers to benefit in the Southeast Asia region. Many nations within the region have taken preventive measures to end human trafficking within their borders and punish traffickers operating there.
Human Trafficking or "trafficking in persons" is the recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing, or obtaining a person for mainly the purposes of forced labor or prostitution. However, other reasons for human trafficking is for the removal of organs, forced marriage, and other exploitations. South America is one of the biggest source and destination locations in the world and has struggled with the issue for many years. The ILO estimates that of the 20.9 million victims of human trafficking in 2012, 1.8 million were from Latin America. There are many factors that cause human trafficking, like a high demand for domestic servants, sex laborers, and factory workers, the existence of already established trafficking networks that often take advantage of young women and children, corruption in the governments and local law enforcement agencies, a governmental disinterest in the issue and a lack of opportunity for women in South American regions where trafficking occurs. People who are typically exploited in human trafficking are impoverished, a member of an indigenous people, unemployed, victim of some kind of abuse, illiterate, substance users, is homeless and/or associated to gang activity. Research done by United States Department of State has also stated that there is a vulnerability for the LGBTQ+ and transgender people to be caught up in human trafficking. By far, sex trafficking is the leading type of human trafficking, making up 79 percent of all human trafficking. This is then followed by forced labor at 18 percent. About 20 percent of trafficking victims are children. Primary destinations for trafficking and illegal immigration are the United States, Spain, Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Canada. Globalization, capitalism and societal attitudes facilitates and reduces the barriers to human trafficking in the world today.
Sex trafficking in China is human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation and slavery that occurs in the People's Republic of China. China, the world's most populous country, has the second highest number of human trafficking victims in the world. It is a country of origin, destination, and transit for sexually trafficked persons.
By the general estimate China's prison and labor camp population was roughly 10 million in any one year under Mao. Descriptions of camp life by inmates, which point to high mortality rates, indicate a probable annual death rate of at least 10 per cent.
Fifteen migrant workers from Burma and Cambodia also told how they had been enslaved.
“I spent seven years in hell,” says Raju, now 21, trying hard not to cry. Thapa Magar took him to Rani Haveli, a brothel in Mumbai that specialized in male sex workers and sold him for Nepali Rs 85,000. A Muslim man ran the flesh trade there in young boys and girls, most of them lured from Nepal. For two years, Raju was kept locked up, taught to dress as a girl and castrated. Many of the other boys there were castrated as well. Beatings and starvation became a part of his life. “There were 40 to 50 boys in the place,” a gaunt, brooding Raju recalls. “Most of them were Nepalese.”