There are no slaves in the 21st century, right? Wrong. Far from being an historical relic, human slavery is thriving. And it's not just adults who are being subjected to this degradation.
Right around the world, children as young as four are being forced to work as domestic servants, street beggars, agricultural labourers, miners and factory workers. Many are involved in prostitution, pornography and bonded labour.
Bonded labour is possibly the least well-known form of modern slavery. It is the practice of forcing adults and children to work as a means to pay off a debt. Bonded labourers are seldom compensated with any form of payment, and almost always, the value of their labour is far greater than the original debt or sum of money borrowed.
In 2009, there are an estimated 27 million women, men and children held in bonded labour, forced child labour and sexual servitude; in developing and developed countries.
You can help too
There are two powerful ways in which you can help stop children being sold into bonded labour.
Don't Trade Lives campaigns for greater consistency across the anti-trafficking policies of countries in the Asia Pacific region. By joining Don't Trade Lives, you can find out more about the tragic trade in human lives and lend your support to the campaign. There are a great number of things you can do and learn about - including how to become a more responsible consumer, in order to create a real and meaningful demand for ethically produced goods.
Through Child Rescue, you can help vulnerable children who have been trafficked and exploited to rebuild their lives. By supporting Child Rescue, you’ll be helping prevent exploitation and forced labour and provide safe accommodation,rehabilitation, education and ongoing support for children who have been abused and exploited.
Article first published on 25 January 2012