Slavery does not end even if the entire world has changed since decades ago. As explained above, current forms of slavery, including but not limited to: forced labor, bonded labor, human trafficking, child slavery, and forced marriage. Within this particular section, each respective form will be elaborated further.
· Forced Labor
According to International Labor Organization’s (ILO) report titled “Global Estimates of Modern Slavery: forced labor and forced marriage, at least there are more than 20 million people were in forced labor by 2016.1 Asia-Pacific holds the largest number of it by contributing 62% of the world total, followed by Africa 23%, Europe and Central Asia 9%, and Americas 5%.2 Several countries that are noted as having the highest percentage of forced labors, including but not limited to: North Korea, India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Uzbekistan, and Qatar.3 In the case of North Korea, the elites use their own citizens in over 40 different counties as a kind of slaves to earn money for weaponry, foreign currency, and other luxury items.4 Under the surveillance of a state-run company called Rungrado, these people are prohibited to go anywhere else beside their working place, forced to receive improper compensation, obliged to worship the supreme leader in their spare time, and forced to work without having a labor contract as well as their own passport.5 Meanwhile, in the case of Bangladesh, Industries, particularly Shrimp Processing Plants, are the one who employs the largest numbers of forced labors. As reported by Verite (2011), workers in these processing plants are required to work overtime during peak seasons without any additional remuneration.6 Furthermore, this situation is also jeopardized by the facts that workers are exposed to hazardous conditions such as significant temperature differences and insufficient bathrooms and toilet facilities.7 In order to tackle those aforementioned cases, the UNHRC later on needs to differentiate its approach towards state-sponsored force labors and the industries-sponsored.
· Bonded Labor
Among all forms of modern-day slavery, bonded labor is the least popular one. This situation may be explained by the fact that bonded labor is only common in Asia, Africa, and Arab states.8 Bonded labor usually can be found in brick kilns, agriculture, carpet weaving, mining and fishing industries in South Asian countries such as Pakistan.9 As reported by Labour Watch Pakistan (2011), lower caste minorities in Sindh and Punjab are the most vulnerable people to bonded labor.10 In this case, the cause is either their homes were located on employer land or they are simply internal migrants who do not enjoy the support of extended families.11
· Human Trafficking
Human Trafficking is indeed one of the most serious crimes ever in the human history. As correctly identified by some scholars, human trafficking could be the beginning of modern-day slavery.12 While it is very hard to measure the total victims of human trafficking around the world, but the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (2016) estimated at least human trafficking happens dominantly in Sub-Saharan Africa, East Asia and the Pacific, followed by Eastern Europe and Central Asia.13 In line with this report, “U.S. State Department Trafficking in Persons Report” on June 2017 highlighted 23 countries whose governments have not really taken significant steps to combat this crime. These countries were: Belarus, Belize, Burundi, Central African Republic, People’s Republic of China, Comoros, Congo, D.R. Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Guinea, Guniea-Bissau, Iran, North Korea, Mali, Mauritania, Russia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Venezuela.14 In the case of Central African Republic, human trafficking victims who mostly turn into modern-day slaves are caused by the involvement of local officials in it, general corruption, lack of awareness about human trafficking, and violent conflict within the region.15 The international community should also address this kind of situation in other countries which they potentially become a source, transit, and destination country for all forms of modern-day slavery at the same time. One of the examples is the case of Honduras. Even if this particular country is not enlisted in the third tier, Honduras would fall into the last category when criminal organizations like gangs cannot be halted from frequently trafficking people to other neighboring countries.16 Once again, the UNHRC needs to look for the most suitable solutions in tackling different trafficking cases.
· Child Labor
Child labor is another crucial problem that needs to be solved immediately. As it is predicted by a non-governmental movement called Alliance 87 in 2017, at least there are more than 150 million children who are currently forced to be labors either by government or their own families.17 Uzbekistan is one of the biggest contributors to that number. Human Rights Watch in 2017 highlighted clearly how the Uzbek government orders children in their territory to pick cotton after school with the consequences of expulsion, academic penalties, and reduction on child welfare if they do not do it accordingly.18 Another country which employs a lot of child labors is Indonesia. Voices of Youth reported that there are over 3 million Indonesian children work long hours and only get a very little amount of money for that job.19 Among those numbers, children who work in tobacco cultivation are the most vulnerable one seeing the fact that they are exposed to acute nicotine poisoning, toxic pesticides, extreme heat, and other harmful substances.20 Surprisingly, their parents keep supporting this kind of slavery, even in some cases their parents become the one who orders them to do so. Another different example is the case of Nigeria. After being internally trafficked from rural regions such as Oyo, Akwa Ibom, and Bayelsa to large cities such as Lagos, and Port Harcourt, Nigerian children are forced to work as shop attendants, catering service hands, head loaders, bus conductors, or even prostitutes.21 Most of the time these child labor cases happen due to poverty, ignorance, and insufficient legal mechanism for tackling it.
· Forced Marriage
The last but not least important manifestation of modern-day slavery is forced marriage. This particular form is somehow strongly connected with the child slavery due to the fact that most of the victims are children. As reported by Voice of America, this kind of practice still happens in several parts of the world, including but not limited to: in South Asia, Latin America, and Sub-Saharan Africa.22 At least there are over 10 million people in those regions who are trapped into forced marriages.23 To elaborate further, let’s scrutinize the following cases: first, In the case of South Sudan, which more than 50% of children in that territory, have married before 18 years old, there is a girl named Akech who is forced by her family to marry a-richer-stranger in order to take over his money and other assets.24 Similar to that, the second one occurs in Nicaragua. As meticulously noted by Girls Not Brides (2016), at least on average, there are two out of five girls in Nicaragua will be married before their 18th birthday.25 These forced marriages are continuously situated by economic factors such as acute poverty; and socio-cultural factors such as a conservative patriarchal society, and discriminatory laws curtailing women’s rights.26 At the end of the day, this potentially leads to unfortunate consequences such as: a cycle of poverty, early pregnancy, sexual transmitted infections, and domestic violence.27 Therefore, the UNHRC also needs to bring their foremost attention to this particular issue.
An old proverb once ever told us that all roads lead to Rome. This proverb enlightens us that instead of one-fits-all solution, there are a lot of ways to eradicate modern-day slavery. The international community should also notice that solutions have to be based on a case-by-case analysis, and indeed must encompass all issues related to prevention, protection, and prosecution. However, this particular part would provide you some general solutions that may be taken into consideration later on: harnessing social media to spread awareness, training on investigating and prosecuting all forms of modern-day slavery for law enforcement officers, operating a 24-hours hotline to report the cases, producing materials about Anti-Modern-Day Slavery in local languages, strengthening all related legislations, or criminalizing all forms of modern-day slavery. Others solutions are open based on prior researches or debates.
1 “Forced labour, modern slavery, and human trafficking”, International Labor Organization, accessed on January 6, 2018 from http://www.ilo.org/global/topics/forced-labour/lang–en/index.htm
2 Global Estimates of Modern Slavery: forced labor and force marriage, (Geneva: International Labor Organization and Walk Free Foundation, 2017), p. 10
3 “The Global Slavery Index 2016”, accessed on January 7, 2018 from https://www.globalslaveryindex.org/findings/
4 Marte Boonen et. Al, “North Korean Forced Labor in the EU, The Polish Case: How The Supply of a Captive DPRK Workforce fits our demand for cheap labour”, Leiden Asia Centre Findings of the Slaves to the System Project, (Jul. 2016), p. 5
5 Ibid., p. 15
6 “Research on Indicators of Forced Labors: in the Supply Chain of Shrimp in Bangladesh”, Verite, (2011), p. 59
8 Ibid., Global Estimates …., p. 37
9 “A new life after bonded labour in Azad Nagar, Pakistan”, Al-Jazeera, 9 July 2017, accessed on January 7, 2018 from http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/inpictures/2017/05/life-bonded-labour-azad-nagar-pakistan-170522092702857.html
10 “Bonded and Forced Labour in Pakistan”, Labour Watch Pakistan, April 11, 2011, accessed on January 7, 2018 from http://labourwatchpakistan.com/bonded-and-forced-labour-in-pakistan/
12 W. van Schendel, L. Lyons, M. Ford, Labour Migration and Human Trafficking in Southeast Asia: Critical Perspectives, (Routledge, 2012) p.10
13 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2016, (Vienna: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2016), p. 5
14 Trafficking in Persons Repot, U.S. Department of State, (June 2017), P. 46
15 Ibid., p. 120-1
16 Ibid., p. 197
17 “2017 Global Estimates”, Alliance 87, accessed on January 7, 2018, from https://www.alliance87.org/2017ge/childlabour#!section=0
18 “We Can’t Refuse to Pick Cotton”, Human Rights Watch, June 27, 2017, accessed on January 7, 2018 from https://www.hrw.org/report/2017/06/27/we-cant-refuse-pick-cotton/forced-and-child-labor-linked-world-bank-group
19 “Child Labor in Indonesia”, Voices of Youth, 2015, accessed on January 7, 2018 from http://www.voicesofyouth.org/en/posts/child-labor-in-indonesia–2
20 “The Harvest is in My Blood”, Human Rights Watch, May 25, 2016, accessed on January 7, 2018 from https://www.hrw.org/report/2016/05/24/harvest-my-blood/hazardous-child-labor-tobacco-farming-indonesia
21 Olubukola S. Adesina, “Modern day slavery: poverty and child trafficking in Nigeria”, African Identities, Vol. 12, No. 6, (2014), p. 166
22 Elizabeth Lee, “Forced Marriage Continues in Many Countries”, Voice of America, October 28, 2011, accessed on January 7, 2017 from https://www.voanews.com/a/forced-marriage-continues-in-many-countries-132844853/147356.html
23 Ibid., Global Estimates …. p. 5
24 “This Old Man Can Feed Us, You Will Marry Him”, Human Rights Watch, March 7, 2013, accessed on January 7, 2018 from https://www.hrw.org/report/2013/03/07/old-man-can-feed-us-you-will-marry-him/child-and-forced-marriage-south-sudan
25 “Nicaragua”, Girls Not Brides, accessed on January 7, 2018 from https://www.girlsnotbrides.org/child-marriage/nicaragua/
26 “Nicaragua’s staggering child-sex abuses rates”, Al-Jazeera, October 30, 2014, accessed on January 7, 2018 from http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2014/10/nicaragua-staggering-child-sex-abuse-rates-201410291216765908.html
27 “Child Marriage in Latin America and the Caribbean”, Girls Not Brides, (August 2017), p. 4