Slavery In The 21st Century


Even though the practice was officially abolished in the 19th century, slavery still goes on in many parts of the world. Just because we don’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. The ILO (International Labor Organization) tells us that an estimated 21 million women, children, and men throughout the globe are even now trapped in slavery.

A few characteristics have been defined which, if even one of them apply to the situation, determine whether someone is being forced to work as a slave:

  • If someone is being coerced to work with the threat of punishment if they fail to do so
  • If their employer exercises control or ownership over them through mental or bodily abuse, or through the threat of such abuse.
  • If the person is being sold and purchased like property or being regarded as commodity.

  • Slave Laborers and Human Trafficking
  • Modern-day slavery has a number of different forms; bonded slavery is one of these, a type which enslaves generations of laborers. Slavery imposed by the state is another; the older form of this kind of slavery was seen in concentration camps where prisoners were held and forced to work or to wait out their executions. This extreme practice is not observed anymore except in a couple of places such as North Korea.

    Human trafficking is not very different. As in slavery, people play on the vulnerability of the victims. Migrants are a group of people often ensnared in this trap. Desperate to start a new life in a new country, they are lured with false promises of jobs and charged extra amounts for visas and other travel costs, only to be trapped into minimum-wage jobs once they get there. The excuse given is that they have to pay their debts; debts which are never pointed out to them. Most are too afraid to try and escape, instead they just make do.

  • Why it Keeps Happening
  • Slave laborers are now contributing a major part to the global market. Their work is the reason why it all keeps getting bigger and bigger. You’d think that the people on top would take solid action to put a stop to these practices, but the bewildering part of all this is that everyone seems content to largely ignore what’s happening. Although laws and punishments are drafted, the execution and implementation is pitiful.

Unless everyone is made aware that there is a large sect of people out there who need our help, not much can be done to change things.