What does Modern Day Slavery look like?


modern day slavery
Slavery: In the United States, this word can elicit many images: Africans packed on a ship like sardines, people of all ages hunched over cotton fields, horrendous physical and mental tortures, and an overall dark time in our country's history. Most people believe that slavery is something that is safely in our past, never to vex us again. These people are wrong. Slavery is still very much alive today, and it is a thriving criminal industry not just in America, but all around the world.

Humans are trafficked just as guns, drugs, and other illegal substances are. They are bought and sold on the black market for illicit purposes, and often they are never recovered. Some victims are forcibly taken, kidnapped off the streets or from their homes and schools. Others are tricked into these situations, often promised a new, better life in a new country with a job lined up. These people are often from third-world countries seeking a new life for themselves in countries like the United States, Great Britain, France, and Australia (to name a few.) They may be promised jobs such as nannies, maids (female servants), seamstresses, or even models, before their lives are flipped upside down and they are taken advantage of. Some make it to their destination, but others may end up in a different part of the world than they had originally expected.

Slavery still exists in the form of forced labor, but it has also evolved and adapted to the new world to include other types of exploitation. Trafficked humans are most commonly used as unpaid domestic help, sexual slaves, and unwilling spouse. As was mentioned before, some trafficking victims voluntarily travel to other countries with the promise of a domestic job waiting for them. These people may make it to their intended destination, only to have their passport confiscated by their new employees and forced to work 15-20 hour days for little to no pay as maids or nannies. These victims are often hidden away from neighbors, with threats made against loved ones back home to ensure compliance.

Sexual slavery is the most common form of human trafficking. In fact, behind the sale of drugs and weapons, the trafficking of humans for sexual purposes in the most lucrative criminal enterprise in the world (source:www.fbi.gov). A drug can only be used once, and it's gone. A weapon can be used multiple times, but it must be replenished with ammunition. But a person? A person being used as a prostitute can be used again and again and again. Sexual slavery is found in every country in the world and affects all people. Children, women, and men are all bought and used as prostitutes. People who are forced into sexual slavery can be found in strip clubs, in restaurants, massage parlors, in homes, on street corners, and in basements all around the world. They will be moved from pimp to pimp to keep the supply fresh for the customers. The average lifespan of a sexual slave is about five years. They will either contract a deadly disease, be killed by a john, or be murdered by their pimp in that short time.

People who are forced into marriages against their will are often the result of money exchanging hands, and therefore fall into the category of human trafficking. This is usually something found in the Middle East, where marriages between older men and younger girls (an example here) are still common. If a family is struggling to make ends meet, they may sell a daughter to another family as a child bride to make extra money. These children are usually under the age of 12, and usually marry men more than twice their age. These girls are sold by their own parents who have no regard for their future. Many of these young girls are expected to immediately submit sexually to their new spouses, and often suffer physical, emotional, and sexual abuse that is not punished in these countries. Girls who try to run away from these marriages are physically maimed or killed. They have no one fighting to protect them.

Sadly, slavery is still very much alive, though it has changed its appearance to match this new world we live in. Human trafficking is an industry, and like any other industry, it relies on supply and demand. The only reason it continues to not only exist, but thrive, is because there are consumers for the product. People looking to exploit free labor. Individuals paying for sex with underage, frightened children. Men searching for a wife, regardless of her age. Human trafficking only continues to happen because we allow it to. So speak up. Get involved. And imagine a world without slavery.

Written by: Chinesa Rose Rusch, United States.

A Book on Amazon : Girls Like Us: Fighting for a World Where Girls Are Not for Sale: A Memoir

A Book on Amazon : Trafficked: The Diary of a Sex Slave: Written By Sibel Hodge.

A Book on Amazon : Enslaved: True Stories of Modern Day Slavery: By Sage Jesse, Liora Kasten, Gloria Steinem.

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Edited by: Rajesh Bihani ( Find me on Google+ )

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