‘’No one shall be held in slavery or servitude: slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.’’ – United Nations: Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Children, young men and women are lured from villages, towns, and cities where the plea for survival strikes the very poor, creating a desperation in people who will do anything to survive. These young victims are promised jobs and labour, but instead, are forced to work in quarries and sweat shops, as domestics, in farms, as child soldiers and other forms of involuntary service, such as forced prostitution or sexual slaves.
Human trafficking, the forceful exploitation of human beings in the form of labour or sexual slavery is an international crime but is evident worldwide and despite the cost of human lives has become a strong business with profits that average $7 billion per is year. Human trafficking is the third most profitable criminal activity, second after drugs and arms trafficking. A slave in 1850 in America cost the equivalent of $40,000. According to figures published, the cost of a slave today averages around $90, depending on the work they are forced to carry out. A young adult male labourer in Mali might only fetch $40, whereas an HIV-free female might attract a price of up to $1000. Is it fair to put a price on a human life? It is a well known fact that slaves are widely available today. This “supply” makes slaves today cheaper than they have ever been. Since they are so cheap, slaves today are not considered a major investment worth maintaining. If slaves get sick, are injured, outlive their usefulness, or become troublesome to the slaveholder, they are dumped or killed.
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The reports of these crimes are buried in the mass media, somewhere between the coverage of the war in Iraq and Hollywood divorces. The exploitation of human beings, the robbing of a soul in the worst way, or the degradation of innocent lives carries less weight in the mass media. Even the BBC investigative reports aired in 2005 are forgotten, except of course by those who have been victims of sexual slavery or by those who love them. Even though slavery is not portrayed in the media on a regular basis, there may be people held in slavery in our community. Slavery happens in nearly every country in the world, and the US and Europe are not immune to it. The fact remains that healing from the psychological damage for the victims will not be as transparent. Each person will still have the trauma of events embedded in their memory, which will always have the opportunity to be provoked to the surface, to remind them of the suffering that had occurred. As long as the demand is great, the crime will persist.
There are many effective solutions to this epidemic but it is a struggle to enforce these solutions on a global scale. The United States is targeting all aspects of trafficking in an effort to end the trade in human beings. Various agencies within the U.S. government are working together to stop the supply, find and prosecute the traffickers, and end the demand for prostitutes, which feeds the whole sex-trafficking industry. To end the supply, programs are implemented that alert communities of the dangers of trafficking, improve educational opportunities, and educate targeted communities on their legal rights. Public attention drawn to the problem of modern day slavery is the key to ending the demand of human traffickers. Programs are implemented to bring awareness to the problem, making it harder to conceal or ignore trafficking. Unless we care for these women and children, no one will do anything to solve their tragedy. Except for us, they will be abused until they are used up and then they will be discarded and their lives destroyed and their futures hopeless. How can we offer them less than a full rescue? To buy all bonded labourers out of slavery it could cost as little as $40 per family.
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In spite of the involvement of celebrities in the destruction of slavery it is still a major epidemic. It is evident in the media that Demi and Ashton Kutcher are recognisably involved in saving slaves around the world in particular Sina Vann from Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Twelve years ago, she was being forced to have sex with 20 to 30 men a night. “If I didn’t service customers I would be locked in the dungeon,” Sina says in a Huffington Post interview about the issue. “They would tie my hands and tie my feet. And they would splash water over me, and they would shock me.” She somehow managed to escape and now goes back to help free other girls who are sex slaves.
As well as this, slavery is an extreme problem portrayed in the media within the past few months as a result of the Haiti earthquake. When a Haitian man walked up to Noel Ismonin, a pastor from Ottawa working in Haiti and offered to sell him an orphan boy for $50, he refused and managed to rescue the child. That story, repeated on television and in newspapers around the world last week, attracted attention to a horrid problem that seemed to arise from the rubble of the earthquake in Haiti. Up to a million children are orphans of it, and traffickers are snatching them and selling them into slavery. Two weeks ago, Haiti arrested 10 Americans and accused them of kidnapping and human trafficking.
This problem takes more than a few years and a few suggested ideas to help solve it as it has been around since the time of man. It will take a lot of years, a lot of people and a lot of hard work and commitment from government bodies to defeat this horrifying and disturbing situation. The only solution to this problem is the common solution for every major problem in society which is education. Many people are deprived of a good education and are not aware of their rights however if they were educated then they would be able to stand up for themselves and would result in a just world.
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