Contrary to popular belief, slavery is not extinct. Modern slavery still exists.
It is estimated that 21 million people are victims of slavery across the world; approximately 11.4 million girls, and 9.5 million boys. This is more than the populations of New York, Mumbai, and Mexico City, to name a few examples.
This creates US$ 150 billion in illegal profits in the private economy each year. This is as much as the combined profits of the four most profitable companies in the world, meaning that slavery is a dangerously huge business. Additionally, the annual profits per victim of forced labour are far higher in developed economies and the European Union than they are anywhere else in the world.
Everyone is therefore affected by slavery, even if they are not aware of it.
People who are victims of slavery encompass at least one of the following ways:
- They are forced to work – through coercion, or mental or physical threat;
- They are owned or controlled by an ’employer’, through mental or physical abuse or the threat of abuse;
- They are dehumanised, treated as a commodity or bought and sold as ‘property’;
- They are physically constrained or have restrictions placed on their freedom of movement.
As well as being an extreme violation of people’s human and labour rights, taking advantage of slavery is an extreme criminal offence.
There exists, however, ways in which both awareness of slavery , and ways of preventing it have increased.
The International Labour Organisation has adopted a new legally binding Protocol designed to strengthen global efforts to eliminate forced labour, which was enacted in November 2016.
The 50 for Freedom campaign also aims to persuade at least 50 countries to ratify the Forced Labour Protocol by 2018. Yet currently, only 18 countries have ratified the Protocol.
We are the One Generation to end slavery.
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