Is it an employment opportunity? exploitation? or modern-day slavery?

Posted on February 26, 2012


Slavery is a modern-day problem. It exists worldwide, even though laws against it exist in every country.

Today, an estimated 27 million men, women, and children in the world are enslaved—physically confined or restrained and forced to work, or controlled through violence, or in some way treated as property.

Factors that often lead to people becoming enslaved are common across countries and cultures. Poverty, lack of employment opportunities, inadequate or unenforced labour laws and regulations, lack of education, gender inequality and other cultural factors combine to increase the vulnerability of people and communities to traffickers and to exploitative employers.

The enslaved work as field hands harvesting crops, as seamstresses in back-alley sweatshops, as kidnapped fishermen or child soldiers, and as common laborers in factories, mines, farm fields, restaurants, construction sites and as maids in private homes. Increasingly, the enslaved are women and children – mostly teenage girls, and younger – caught up in the global sex industry of prostitution, pornography and pedophilia.

And slavery is not just a third world problem, it is increasingly a problem in Australian soil. A sex trade report by the US State Department suggests that women from Asia, and to a lesser extent eastern Europe, were forced into slavery after migrating to Australia voluntarily with the intention of working legally. The report estimated 1200 victims of human trafficking arrived in Australia each year. In Australia, slaves are nurses from India, welders from the Philippines, construction workers from China and domestic workers from Malaysia.

Over the next few weeks, I hope to bring you some facts about modern day human-slavery and trafficking from around the world.

Until next time,