Modern-Day Slavery

People keep saying that slavery doesn’t exist today. It does. Human trafficking (aka modern-day slavery) is happening right now. This very minute. The Human Rights First website states that “according to a September 2017 report from the International Labor Organization (ILO) and Walk Free Foundation, an estimated 24.9 million victims are trapped in modern-day slavery,” (2017, n.p.). And if you’d like more  statistics, I have attached the article (below) with this rant. 

Women, men AND children are trafficked everyday into the chains of sex slavery, paedophilia, mining, factory work, hard labor, drug muling, house labor, child marriage, and on and on the complete disregard for basic human rights goes. 

I’m tired of watching statues being pulled down and seeing police being abused, taunted, and smoke blown in their faces by way of anger, while somewhere in Thailand, there is a three year old girl being rescued by a retired cop from the evil behaviour of western ‘John’s’—western men who have been using her at a strip club for their own self-gratification under cover of a “holiday.”

I feel enraged when people speak of slavery in the past tense, when there is a teenaged girl somewhere in Greece right now who thought she had been hired to start an exciting new job in tourism, but who has, instead, spent her first night in a foreign country being raped and beaten (repeatedly) by strange men. She doesn’t have a say about what happens to her body—she is now someone’s “property.”

I feel enraged that there is a boy child somewhere in Africa who is being pimped out to pedophile rings so that they can create videos of themselves  doing unspeakable things to him. That little boy doesn’t have a say. He doesn’t have a right to feel safe in own body. His life is being destroyed. Where is the public outrage over this?

And what about factory slavery in China or India or Indonesia, where people are “hired” by elite corporations in conjunction with Western companies (like Walmart) to produce products at insanely low prices so that western countries can thrive and eastern elites can live “the good life.” Where is the public outrage over this?

And what about Australia and America? Human trafficking is alive and well in those places too. 

I’m tired of the narrative that slavery is all about colour. It is NOT. It is about greed. And anyone who is being paid as a violent activist right now possibly needs to check their motives. Because while they are being paid $21-$24 an hour to steal, kill and destroy, they are not rioting over ACTUAL CURRENT SLAVERY. Who out of the protesters at the moment is speaking up for the three year old, the teenager, the little boy, and the forced labour textile workers? The problem is not “out there.” The problem could be right next door, hidden in plain sight. 

If you’re receiving monetary payments or income and you have access to an education; if you are free to make your own choices—to speak and think for yourself; if you are free to choose what happens to your own body; if you are allowed out of the sight of those you are surrounded by without terrifying consequences; you are not a slave. 

That three year old girl? She’s a victim of modern-day slavery. That teenager? She’s a victim of modern-day slavery. That little boy? He’s a victim of modern-day slavery. Those people in forced labor? They’re victims of modern-day slavery.

If I can’t help modern-day slaves practically at the moment, then I will give them a voice right here and right now by honouring their will, their tenacity and their courage to survive. And for those who are speaking about slavery in the past tense? I hope you eventually stop, because it’s disrespectful for those who are actually living it every. single. moment. of every. single. day.

And as for verbal abuse, physical abuse, and psychological abuse? It’s NEVER ok. It’s not ok for rioters OR non-rioters. Turning a blind eye to abuse because of a narrative is NOT ok. People who are beaten up, murdered, and extorted—no matter what label people have given them—they’re victims. Plain and simple. 

Either abuse is ok, or it’s not—which is it? There is no middle ground on abuse. No sitting on the fence. No narrative that could ever, ever make it ok. Because abusive minds, mouths, and hands are what human trafficking victims are ultimately enslaved by.  

And there is no middle ground on modern-day slavery. It exists. It’s real. It’s happening now and those who have been trafficked—those who don’t have a voice—need people to stand, speak or act in a way that says “we see you.” “We acknowledge the atrocities you are going through,” and “we are working to free you.”.

Photo by Hussain Badshah on Unsplash

References (January 7, 2017). Human trafficking by the numbers.