World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

by Bina Pattel

The 30th July is World Day against Trafficking in Persons and the United Nations have stated that this is ‘a serious crime and a grave violation of human rights.’

http://www.un.org/en/events/humantrafficking/background.shtml

Human Trafficking is the world’s fastest growing global crime (1)

Call it Human Trafficking or Modern Day Slavery – both are the same and no different to what we all knew was Slavery back in the old days.

What does the dictionary have to say about the word Trafficking –
Deal or trade in something illegal (2) 

How many of us can honestly say we are up to date with what is going on in our world?

How do we feel when we get to know that –

Slavery was not abolished but is still going on in our world today?

Slavery has existed throughout our history and what many of us think is that it has gone, but the Truth is we have it today under a different name – Human Trafficking or Trafficking in Persons.

So a slave is someone who is treated and owned like property and forced to work and obey for the benefit of their owner.

Google it and we can fight, campaign, sign a petition, join a movement, watch a film or fund raise and just about do what we want to try and stop human trafficking.

The truth is why has nothing worked so far and why are things getting worse?

Why do we have slavery in the 21st Century under a new name?

Did it really ever get truly abolished?
Who has the right to own a person like a piece of property?
Who has the authority to treat a person however they want?
Why do people want to control others against their will?

Why is Modern Day Slavery not making it to front page headlines?
Why are more people not aware of what is going on in our world?
Why have our governments not united on this and stamped it out?

Who actually gains from this inhumane act?

Why is Human Trafficking the fastest growing global crime?
Is this telling us that it is out of control and we don’t seem to have the answers?
Do we stop and ask why there is so much greed and corruption in our world?

Now check this stuff out –

Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report – June 2016
A $150 billion illicit human trafficking industry (3)
150,000,000,000 dollars
‘Forced labour in the private economy generates US $150 billion in illegal profits per year.’

International Labour Organization (4)

‘People trafficking is the fastest growing means by which people are enslaved’ … It is also ‘one of the largest sources of income for organised crime.’ –
The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (1)

‘1.2 million children are trafficked every year’ – estimate by
UNICEF (1)

‘Human trafficking is the second largest source of illegal income worldwide exceeded only by drugs trafficking’ (2005) –
BELSER (1)

There are reports that some trafficking groups are moving their cargo from drugs to human beings, in a search for high profits at low risk –
The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (1)

It is estimated that $32 billion of profits are generated by human trafficking globally –
UNICEF (5)

‘600,000-800,000 men, women and children are trafficked across international borders each year. Approximately 80% are women and girls. Up to 50% are minors’ –
U.S Department of State Trafficking in Persons report 2007 (1)

Almost 21 million people are victims of forced labour worldwide – 11.4 million are women and girls and 9.5 million are men and boys –
International Labour Organization (4)

Research from 2012 estimates that 44% of the near 21 million victims of forced labour had been trafficked –
ILO 2012 Global Estimate of Forced Labour (1) 

Around 19 million victims are exploited by private individuals or enterprises and over 2 million by the state or the rebel groups –
International Labour Organization (4)

Of those exploited by individuals or enterprises, 4.5 million are victims of forced sexual exploitation –
International Labour Organization (4)

‘The majority of trafficked victims arguably come from the poorest countries and poorest strata of the national population’ –
A Global Alliance Against Forced Labor, International Labor Organisation, 2005 (1)

Conviction rates are very low which confirms that this illegal trade is well under the radar and not getting recorded (6)

Why is the 2016 Global Slavery Index saying around 46 million people are in some form of modern slavery across 167 countries? (7)

Again, is this the real scale of our fast growing international crime or is there more and we just don’t have the resources to investigate?

Stop the Traffik Organisation is saying that –
‘Due to the hidden and illegal nature of human trafficking, gathering statistics on the scale of the problem is difficult’. (1)

The truth is we cannot get precise amounts of this serious fast growing global crime.

Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime states –
It is clear that the reported numbers are only the tip of the iceberg’ (6)

Dear World

We have a huge global crime today under our watch.
Is anyone interested?
Do we care or is this just too much?
Are these statistics a true account of what is really going on?
How accurate are these facts and figures that officials are quoting?

Do we feel helpless knowing the scale of the problem?
Are these just big numbers that mean nothing to us?
Where do these billions of dollars in profit end up?
Where do the lives of these victims end up?
How many of us even know about the TIP report?

Do we think we cannot make a difference as we don’t have the power to make changes?
Would it really bother us if it was our mother, sister, wife or daughter?
Why are most of us not concerned about how other fellow humans are treated?

What will it take for us to wake up and ask WHY is slavery such a massive industry today?

How do we feel about having our bricks made by young girls in Peru, who are forced to make them in extreme hot weather? (3)
How does it sound that debt bondage trap girls in Pakistan in carpet making factories? (3).

What is Debt Bondage? (8)
Bonded Labour is the most widespread, yet least known form of slavery in the World. This is where the person becomes a bonded labourer where their labour is demanded as a means of repayment of a loan. The person is trapped or tricked into working for little or no pay and the value of their work is usually greater than the original sum of money borrowed. Often debts are passed onto the next generations. Violence and threats can be used to make them stay.

Just in case we were not aware Bonded Labour has existed for hundreds of years and it is still around today.

We could go on but do we get what is going on and how things end up in our home?

Following the abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, debt bondage was used to trap indentured labourers into working on plantations in Africa, the Caribbean and South-East Asia.

In Punjab region of India, hundreds of thousands of men, women and children are forced to work as bonded labourers in quarries and brick kilns for little or no pay in return for a loan, usually for survival and medical costs.

The International Labour Organization estimate around 12 million people are in forced labour in the Asia-Pacific region of which the majority are in debt bondage. In this part of the world, bonded labour is rooted in the caste system and predominately affects the ‘untouchables’ which is the lowest caste.

Having grown up in an Indian caste system, I can say that it exists today and even those who are relatively poor, living in villages have slaves. It is widely accepted and they are most certainly not seen as equals. In fact they have such poor living conditions with much exposure to the sun, so they are have a darker skin colour than most and this further confirms the division.

‘Despite the fact that bonded labour is illegal, governments are rarely willing to enforce the law or to ensure that those who profit from it are punished.’ (8)

Please find the time to look at the video in this article as it really is SLAVERY AT SEA

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/feb/25/slavery-trafficking-thai-fishing-industry-environmental-justice-foundation

Here are some highlights from this video –

This is a brutal transnational people trafficking industry
People are beaten to death
Deprived of adequate food and shelter
Rape and sexual violence are an everyday reality
Not given food or water whilst working
Healthy ones preferred as they can work harder, which means more money
If they cannot work, throw them into the sea
Can be 4 years on a boat and forced to work at sea
It is hard to find fish in the Gulf of Thailand
Boats are being converted to trafficking people as it is more money
Fishermen are increasingly turning to human trafficking as their ‘industry faces crisis’

‘The more people I bring, the more money I make’
‘You can make a lot of money from each trip and to be honest, I want to make money’ –
Boat Owner

People trafficking generates three times more money than fish.

10 local boats can transport 12,000 migrants per month. This can generate up to $24 million in ransom payments.

Holding ships are used so people cannot escape. Some are ‘beaten until they could not breathe’.

Thai officials have sold thousands of people to human trafficking syndicates and this has been operating uninterrupted for years.

Investigations that have taken place by the government so far have not even scratched the surface – Phil Robertson, Human Rights Watch.

‘Forced labour has become fundamental to the economic logic of the Thai seafood sector’
‘If you suddenly strip out forced labour an industry can fall apart and maybe it should’
Siddharth Kara – Programme on Human Trafficking, Harvard Kennedy School.

Rapid unregulated growth and decades of overfishing have left the industry on the brink of catastrophe.

This is only possible with the collusion of the authorities.
This has been going on since the 90’s in the Thai fishing sector.
This has involved the complicity and direct involvement of Thai officials including police and the military.

Do we stop and ask why there is so much greed and corruption in our world?

A multi billion dollar industry and do we care where our Thai prawns come from?
Or is the cheap price we pay worth others being treated as modern day slaves?

So we may think this is over there in another part of the world and not close to home.
Well check this link –

https://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2015/aug/10/migrants-trafficked-work-britain-free-range-farms-video

How ‘happy’ are our free-range eggs?
How free-range are the working conditions?
Is there any political agenda now that we know this company donates to a political party?
When a company has a name does it have a Responsbility to put that message across?
Are they showing us high moral principles and being honest, decent, ethical and reputable?

Is this type of ‘slave trade’ actually recorded onto statistics anywhere?
Why are there not more video clips available to alert us of what is really going on?

Trafficking in human beings is a similar route to that of illegal drugs. There is now a market for high quality forged documents in South Eastern Europe, as Migrant smuggling remains a high source of income for organised crime. (9)

Child sex tourists travel to countries like Cambodia, Costa Rica and the Philippines to prey on children (3)

Is this the licence to overseas Paedophilia that is under the radar?
Do we want to know the extent of the sex tourist industry?
Are we aware of the multi billion dollar commercial sex industry?
When did we agree to sex slavery being ok to continue?

The TIP report is also saying that not all countries have signed up to the Palermo Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons (3). Why?

Why are ALL our nations not uniting and saying NO to Modern Day Slavery? 

What is the 2014 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons saying? (6)

More than 90% of countries have legislation criminalizing human trafficking since the Protocol.
Not all countries have signed.

Increase in young under age girls

Most detected trafficking victims are subjected to sexual exploitation.
53% of trafficking victims were subject to sexual exploitation (2011)
Official data reported to UNODC only represent what has been detected

82% are women and children (2011)

Questions 
Why does the legislation not always comply with the Protocol?
Why does the legislation not cover all forms of trafficking?
Why does implementation of legislation when enacted, often fall short?

In 128 countries covered in this report 15% did not even record a single conviction (6)

Is anyone asking WHY?
Is this an accurate statement?
Why has the number of convictions globally remained extremely low?
Who benefits and who stands to gain here?

Next – so what is the National Crime Agency saying in the UK? (10)

‘Human trafficking is the movement of a person from one place to another into conditions of exploitation, using deception, coercion, the abuse of power or the abuse of someone’s vulnerability’.

Some of the categories of exploitation they mention on their website include:

  • Sexual Exploitation
  • Forced Labour
  • Domestic Servitude
  • Organ Harvesting
  • Child Trafficking

Of course there are more like forced marriage and forced illegal adoption.

‘Trafficking affects every continent and most countries’ (11)

Next – The Palermo Protocol breaks trafficking down into 3 elements: (12)

  1. The Act – what is done
    ‘Recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons’
  1. The Means – how it is done
    ‘Threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person’
  1. The Purpose – why it is done
    For the purpose of Exploitation which includes at a minimum, ‘the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs’

The USA call it the AMP Model and say there has to be a minimum of one element from each to establish a potential situation of human trafficking. (13)

So force, control and abuse of power is not enough as it does not fit the rules.

Is this actually going to change anything as there are so many loopholes within this law?

How is this law going to end this inhumane way of treating our fellow brothers on earth?

Please go back and read the above 3 points.  

What are we going to do now that we KNOW what human trafficking is doing to our people? 

UNODC state that human trafficking is one of the largest sources of income for organised crime.

  • Where is all this crime money going?
  • Who benefits?
  • At what cost?

Do our research studies show the real statistics of human trafficking?
Do we have the black market numbers – in other words the underworld trafficking?
What is this insatiable demand that Andrew Wallis (Founder, Unseen) is saying? (14)

Human trafficking is a criminal industry based on the principles of supply and demand.
So here we have a market that is driven at the cost of human lives.
The demand is fuelled by cheap goods, cheap services and cheap labour.
We have an endless supply of vulnerable people available, so here we have big business.
The overall market incentives of high profit and low risk can be exploited by human traffickers.

High Profits – When people are willing to buy commercial sex, this creates a ‘market’ that makes it profitable for traffickers to sexually exploit children and adults. When we, the consumer are willing to buy cheap goods and services from industries that rely on forced labour, we create a profit incentive so labour traffickers can then maximise revenue with minimal production costs. (13)

Low Risk – People traffickers believe that the low risk of detection is worth the high profit margins. They perceive there to be little risk or deterrence to affect their criminal operations. What further supports this criminal activity is ineffective or unused law, lack of law enforcement investigation, lack of government and law enforcement training, limited resources for victim recovery services and social blaming of victims. (13)

So this means that there are substantial monetary gains with a low risk of getting caught. 

Who is making the profits?
At what cost to human lives?
Are we robbing children of their natural right to grow up without slavery?
Are we imposing our demands because we simply can?
Is this money making business going to last?

What is it going to take to see real lasting change? 

Article 4 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights say –
‘No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.’ (15)

This is great news but why is it not taken seriously by all people and our governments?
WHAT IS MISSING HERE?

Interesting that the UK wake up to the horror of modern day slavery in 2004 when 23 Chinese slaves drowned at sea and then we have the UK Modern Slavery Act in 2015 (16).

We should all be asking – what happened for the 11 years before the Act came out?

Yes, we have more awareness now about Modern Day Slavery but this crime continues to go under reported.

  • Is it because of its hidden nature and misconceptions around its actual definition?
  • Is it because we are not clued up and cannot spot the signs?
  • Is it because the laws are full of holes?
  • Is it because the task of dealing with this mess is too big for our government priority?

There is plenty more to report, but this is enough for a blog to bring about awareness on a much needed worldwide problem.

How do we end Human Trafficking?
Is there a simple answer?

  • Could it be possible that we are putting profits before people?
  • Could it be possible that self gain is at the top of the agenda?
  • Could it be possible we do not see ALL other human beings on earth as EQUALS?
  • Could it be possible that our drive for money is greater than human life?
  • Could it be possible there will be no true change until we get to the root cause?
  • Could it be possible that in Truth we are seeking something outside of ourselves?

In other words – are we avoiding our true relationship with our self and in that dis-connection, we create a void which needs to be filled at whatever cost – in this case the lives of others.

Is this understanding simple enough and could it apply to other global issues like drugs?

References 

(1) (2016). Stop the Traffik
https://www.stopthetraffik.org/the-scale-of-human-traffiking

(2) Concise Oxford English Dictionary – Twelfth Edition. Oxford University Press. 2011

(3) Department of State. United States of America. Trafficking in Persons Report. June 2016 (p.11, p.19, p.27 and pp.57-62)
http://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/2016

(4) (2016) Forced Labour, Human Trafficking and Slavery. International Labour Organization (ILO)
http://www.ilo.org/global/topics/forced-labour/lang–en/index.htm

(5) (2016) Infographic: A Global Look at Human Trafficking. UNICEF
https://www.unicefusa.org/stories/infographic-global-human-trafficking-statistics

(6) United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Global Report on Trafficking in Persons. (p.1, p.5 and p.9). New York, 2014
https://www.unodc.org/documents/data-and-analysis/glotip/GLOTIP_2014_full_report.pdf

(7) (2016) The Global Slavery Index
http://www.globalslaveryindex.org/findings

(8) (n.d). Bonded Labour
http://www.antislavery.org/english/slavery_today/bonded_labour

(9) (UNODC). UNODC South Eastern Europe on Illicit Trafficking
https://www.unodc.org/southeasterneurope/en/illicit-trafficking.html

(10) (n.d). Human Trafficking. National Crime Agency
http://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/crime-threats/human-trafficking

(11) (2013). Facts About Trafficking. Croydon Community Against Trafficking
http://theccat.com/facts-about-trafficking

(12) (2015). The Definition of Trafficking. ECPAT UK
http://www.ecpat.org.uk/content/definition-trafficking

(13) (n.d). Human Trafficking. National Human Trafficking Resource Center
https://traffickingresourcecenter.org/type-trafficking/human-trafficking

(14) Townsend, M. (2016, July 10). Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking
https://www.theguardian.com/law/2016/jul/10/modern-slavery-on-rise-in-uk

(15) (1948, December 10). The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. United Nations
http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights

(16) (n.d). Anti Slavery Day.
http://www.antislaveryday.com/what-is-human-trafficking

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Comments 34

  1. Thank you Bina Pattel for writing such a fact packed eye opener of a blog. There must have been many many hours of research to put this together. These statistics are shocking and it is going on right on our door steps. The exposing questions of why ? then .. is there simple answer ? … We can change this, put a stop to it, by changing how we live.

    1. Thank You Ruth for your comment. Yes this blog has taken a lot of hours of research to get to what we have posted. There is much work that goes on to upload blogs weekly that are simply there to bring awareness to humanity.
      We as a world are in the dark, so to speak about so many things and I feel that more awareness is needed. Our internet has so much nonsense on it and a website like this is not offering pictures or images or trying to sell you anything. It is showing you another way to live and that we each have a RESPONSIBILITY even though we may not want to go there as it suits us in some way.
      It is also transparent in that nothing is hidden about the author and what the purpose of Simple Living Global is all about.

  2. Thanks for the wake up call Bina. For me this is about our own responsibility of how we live our lives.

    Whatever we want the world will deliver; in other words we need to stop blaming and take responsibility for what we ask for (the demand) which creates a kind of supply that brings suffering. Our individual choices have produced all the ills in the world.

    I am committed to living a life where I make responsible choices. This is critical if I want to make a difference in this world.

    1. This is true what you are saying here Ken Elmer that it is for each of us as individuals to take full Responsibility for our demands because it is these demands that create the supply that brings suffering.
      Yes indeed Ken “our individual choices have produced al the ills in the world”.
      It is great that you know that you are making a difference just by choosing to live with Responsibility. This is what we all need to look at as part of our daily medicine.

  3. Having ones free will taken away, to be robbed of the freedom to make choices about ones own body and life is a most horrific evil. Can we at least begin by weighing that against saving a few cents or dollars buying prawns, eggs, a carpet… without discerning how it came to be so cheap?

    I feel that we can begin to change this sick business-as-usual by making the commitment to put people before profit in every circumstance and work toward a world which does not create the desperation and vulnerability which fosters this kind of violent crime, a crime against the very humanness in each of us.

    1. You make some great points here Jo Billings. Thank you for sharing your take on this much needed subject. How many of us just want the prawns to cost less but not once do we think that the thai fishing industry has been exhausted and they have to go far out to keep our demands. So in comes another option and some boat owners are saying Yes – and that is replace the prawn fishing with people trafficking and its is slavery so lets be ultra clear here. Any doubt, watch the video link on this blog again.
      How do those prawns sit in our tummy knowing what goes on and those bricks made by young girls. Is this a quality that we think is ok because we have the ‘better life’?
      Do we look the other way?
      Do we stand up and say no there has to be another way?
      It is high time we paid more attention to what is really going on in our world.

  4. The purpose of Simple Living Global is to bring awareness to the world in a very simple language so we all get the message.

    We are put off when something is complicated or it uses language that goes over our head. But when we write clearly with a purpose and that is TRUTH people feel it.

    Some may choose to read and ignore and others my not even go there and that is a choice. We are not invested in getting hits or traffic to this site.
    If it happens great and if it doesn’t it will not stop us posting.
    Our job is to keep writing on topics that are important and this website is for humanity – it is for the people and about the people and on behalf of the people.

    We all need to know what on earth is really going on.

  5. Ready or not here is our reality.
    I have learned that until I allow myself to see the whole mess I’m in… I will not get free of it.
    Overwealmed or not this blog represents a big mess, one I feel we all do need to come to see so we can begin correcting it by simply honoring what we know in our heart; in relationship with self and all others.

    I am extremely appreciative of role models like the author of this blog who have inspired me to take deaper more consistant, loving care of myself so that I am not only able to get my own life on track but I’m able to start looking at and addressing bigger issues in the greater world; I can finally begin making a difference to my brothers and sisters who are really hurting.

    1. Great first line Jo – READY OR NOT – HERE IS OUR REALITY.
      Correct this blog does present the big mess we are in and each of us have a responsibility to do our bit. Getting overwhelmed will not change anything.
      The thing we all forget quickly is that each of us actually contributes to this world. So I cannot get to Thailand and fight or campaign on behalf of those who are in slavery but what I can do is put my skills to good use CONSISTENTLY and that is writing and posting blogs like this that will support to undo the mess, not add to it.
      My job is to keep expressing what I know is the Truth and bring more awareness because I know it makes sense.

  6. What gives any person the right to force, control, coerce, manipulate and subjugate another human being in order to make money, whether that be through forced labour or for use in the sex industry? What does it say about a race of people that treat each other like this? Did you know that the main cause of the American Civil War was about slavery? In 1860 Abraham Lincoln became the President of the United States on a platform of ‘no new slaves’. Many southern states, who relied on the slave trade to work their cotton plantations and fearful that their cheap labour was going to be taken away, broke away from the Union and created the Confederacy and on April 12th 1861 the American Civil War started. On May 9th 1865 the war ended with the Union emerging victorious which meant the abolition of slavery. Nearly 750,000 soldiers died in that war, more than the combined American casualties of WWI and WWII. Nearly 750,000 lives wasted because some people weren’t prepared to see others as equals. In the UK, thanks to a lot of hard work and dedication from William Wilberforce and others, slavery was abolished in 1833. So, for nearly 200 years, the open face of slavery has gone away. But, in truth, did it really go away or did it just go underground?
    Your blog, Bina, exposes the very real facts that modern day slavery is very much alive and actually getting worse. Until we see everyone as equals, there will always be that ability to see someone as a way to make money but as always we have a choice-there is always a choice!!

    1. Thank you for sharing some facts about what happened in the past and the raw truth is as this blog is saying Slavery is still here today just under a new name called “human trafficking’. It seems clear that this form of abuse is everywhere and money seems to be the number one motive.
      You make a great point Tim that ‘until we see everyone as EQUALS’ things are not going to change. Saying it and then living it are two different things and it requires work on our part to start with the honesty of what is not equal inside us. In other words do we get caught or pulled or tempted to act in a way that harms another so we can gain.
      However small this maybe – it is worth exploring this if we want change.

    2. So interesting to read this detail, Tim. And Lincoln’s platform of no NEW slaves – to read that pragmatism in the politics is confronting. And so many years later, how many of us are really LIVING equality, versus turning a blind eye to what’s going on, not just ‘out there’, but in our own internal attitudes and measurements (if we’re honest, most of us are measuring ourselves against each other all the time, right, figuring out where we are in the pecking order?)? I’m ashamed to say I didn’t know the half of it before reading this blog and I certainly haven’t reflected on it like this. As uncomfortable as it is, this blog is putting a mirror up to self absorption, the truth about too-good-to-be-true buying decisions, how we are putting money before human beings and how far away we are from equality. If nothing else, at least we can start there, by having a hard look at our own every-day choices in that and seeing where it takes us.

  7. Between 1999 – 2001 Kathryn Bolkovac was a human rights investigator and gender officer at the United Nations Headquarters in Sarajevo, a member of the peacekeeping mission of former Yugoslavia. She uncovered a network of human trafficking and forced prostitution involving UN officials and police. Bolkovac was not supported when she exposed this and instead was ostracised and retaliated against and eventually lied about and sacked. This is typical of how anyone that exposes the truth is treated.

    The film about this called The Whistleblower gives a snapshot of the extent of the violence and abuse involved in human trafficking. Considering that this is going on all over the world and reading the statistics in this blog – something is deeply wrong in society that this is happening.

    Thank you Simple Living Global for continuing to raise awareness on these matters as it’s too easy to turn a blind eye and be in denial about what is going on.

    1. Thank You again Shevon Simon for sharing this valuable news that many of us may not even be aware of. History has shown us repeatedly that those who expose the TRUTH are not popular and others do what they can to destroy them.
      TRUTH needs to be something that we all need to restore in our own life and when we do it would be a natural progression to then seek more of the same and out/expose anything that is not, like human trafficking.
      We all need to be Whistleblowers in this world that is fuelled by greed and corruption.

  8. Trafficking and slavery have never ceased, despite various changes in legislation in some countries. Only yesterday was another case in the news of a company in England who had a group of people who ‘worked’ for them, but who were rarely paid, and not cared for, no proper living arrangements – but the company was fined for what was found to be slavery. Its astonishing that this still continues in our so called modern world – and I feel the picture of slavery and trafficking is far worse, even than the stats and questions raised here in this blog.

    1. YES it would be true to say that the statistics in this blog are the ‘tip of the iceberg’ and that the real truth about slavery and trafficking is far greater. Nevertheless this blog has at least started the conversation about this serious global crime that is not going to go away overnight.
      The news story that you mention Jane about about a UK company being fined for modern day slavery of staff is one of many and the question we need to be asking is “does paying a fine bring closure to this inhumane act?”
      Could it be possible that if we used this story to ask more questions and dig deeper, we may just start to find out more?
      Could it be possible that we need to know more about WHY people think it is ok to treat another fellow human being in this way?
      Could it be possible that we each have a RESPONSIBILITY to not let it just be an ugly news story but to start talking so more of us become aware of what is really going on?

  9. Dear World

    Most of us would have been too busy indulging in the Christmas delights and going over the top with our kids to even notice the news across the globe.
    Check this link CNN News dated 23 December 2016 – India: Baby Trafficking..
    http://edition.cnn.com/2016/12/23/asia/india-trafficking-babies/index.html

    Have we all heard of Baby Trafficking? Here are the main highlights from this news story.
    Police warn more children are at risk.
    Kidnapping and child trafficking are persistent problems in India.

    More than 73,000 children were reported missing in 2014, according to the most recent official statistics. In 2015, the National Crime Records Bureau registered 41,893 cases of kidnapping and child abduction and 3.490 cases of child trafficking.

    According to an Indian government report “a large number of children are trafficked not only for the sex ‘trade’ but also for other forms of non-sex based exploitation that includes servitude of various kinds, as domestic labor, industrial labor, begging, organ trade and false marriage.”

    Maybe these are just numbers and don’t really have much to do with us as we don’t live in India. But what is this telling us about the state of our world today?
    How can we merrily ignore what is going on?
    How can we settle in the jolly festive season knowing this is going on?
    How comfortable are we now that we know these facts?

    WHY are we quick to join the social media bandwagon for one child who has a terminal illness and post gifts and over 250,000 Christmas cards? AND make news headlines on Christmas Eve with celebrity endorsements.

    WHY are we not having the same enthusiasm for millions of other children who are equally suffering?

    WHY are our social media platforms being used to not always give us all the facts and all the news that we need to know about?

    WHY are we not asking for more real news so we can feel the pulse of humanity, which includes every single one of us here on earth today?

  10. This is a link to another example of mans inhumanity to man.

    https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2017/mar/12/slavery-sicily-farming-raped-beaten-exploited-romanian-women?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

    This abuse is still going on because there are little political or economic incentives for the government to get involved. With the farmers not being rich, having to pay the workers a proper wage would mean they would lose too much money and the ‘entire agricultural economy of the province would implode’.

    This province is called Ragusa and there are about 5,000 farms across the province with exports of fresh fruit and vegetables worth some 366 million euros a year with most of it coming from the farms in Ragusa.

    Again, the reason this behaviour is allowed to continue is, MONEY.

    Is the continual rape, degradation, abuse, of another human being worth the price of having fruit and vegetables available in our local store?

    Is it really the end of the world if we cant get a certain type of lettuce or red pepper or our favourite apple?

    Judging by the recent furore in the UK, when there was a lettuce shortage and crates of lettuces were being sold at vastly inflated prices, I would say, Yes, it does seem like the end of the world.

    Its time to wake up World.

    Not so long ago, we would only eat the produce that was available in whatever season we were in.

    Is it possible, that if we didn’t put so much demand on having ALL types of fruit and vegetables, ALL YEAR LONG, there would be less of an opportunity for people to treat another human being as less than themselves?

    What is going on in these farms is nothing less than slavery.

    If the Italian government is unwilling to act, we can always make a difference by looking at what we are buying.

  11. The Guardian 25th February 2017

    Police found Vietnamese teenagers living and working in slave like conditions in an old 20 room bunker in Wiltshire. They were working on a marijuana farm.

    Detective Inspector Paul Franklin called the conditions “grim” and said they had never seen anything of this scale.

    No natural light
    No running water
    No fresh air
    Hard manual labour

    200 marijuana plants in each of the 20 rooms.

    3 men were arrested with conspiracy to produce cannabis and conspiring to hold another person in slavery or servitude.

    The news article also reports that over the last 10 years the police have been aware of large scale trafficking by organised crime of vulnerable young people in Vietnam, to work in cannabis farms.

    So what is going on?

    At one time I would have flicked the page, feeling overwhelmed and relieved that this was not happening in my area but the Truth is, it most probably is happening in my area and even if it isn’t, are we not all just as affected?

    Are we aware that we are ALL less if we allow anyone to be treated without the true respect and dignity that we all deserve?

    1. Thank you for sharing this news story Shevon about teenagers from Vietnam working in the UK on a marijuana farm.

      There seems to be more and more stories coming to light now – check this one out…

      Evening Standard – 4th April 2017

      News headlines saying “Prostituted girls among 124 child slaves in capital last year”

      This is just in London and these victims were exploited as prostitutes, domestic slaves, labour exploitation or ‘unknown’ forms of exploitation.
      Nationally the suspected number of victims of slavery and human trafficking has more than doubled in three years.

      Could it be possible that this may just be the tip of the iceberg as so many are going under the radar so to speak?

      If we look at this as a business for some people, it comes down to making money with no regard for human life. We can sit here pointing the finger or we can stick our understanding hat on and join the dots.

      This exploitation of human trafficking simply exists in our world because there are those that want it, demand it. So the supply is there. No rocket science needed, just simple basic economics. If there was no demand the traffickers would be out of business.

      So who are those who want child labour, exploit women and men as domestic slaves and keep the prostitution industry going?
      Are these the real reason WHY we have human trafficking in the first place?

  12. Daily Mail – 25 February 2017

    17,400 new migrant smugglers in one year.
    There are countless numbers already operating inside Europe.
    Attempts to bribe consular officials from European embassies
    £3,000,000,000 trade is the fastest growing criminal sector
    1,150 social media accounts used to recruit migrants
    Bogus passports and travel documents delivered to customers across Europe via fast parcel companies before being handed to refugees

    Confirmed in this newspaper article as we have said at the beginning of this blog, this is the fastest growing global crime.
    Is it time to stop and ask some serious questions now?
    Has human trafficking being going on under the radar for a long time?
    Is this new organisation from Europol called EMSC – European Migrant Smuggling Centre the only reason why these shocking facts are making news headlines?
    WHY do we as a race of beings have such a need to exploit, abuse and disregard the life of another human in the name of money?
    WHY is there a price tag on human life?
    WHY are there people in this world that need to do this?
    WHY is there an industry ready and available to meet the demands?
    WHY are we allowing this and accepting all of this on some level?
    WHY are most of us not really bothered as it doesn’t directly affect us?

    What is going on that makes anyone want to profit at the gain of another?
    What if there is such a thing as karma?
    What if the Law of cause and effect, in other words what goes around comes around needs to be taken seriously?
    What is the root problem here?
    WHY are we not asking questions and questions until we get the answers?

    How intelligent are we really as a race of beings, where we can allow this stuff to happen and stand by and say nothing?

  13. Are we ignorant parties to slavery?

    An article in the Daily Mail on 4 March 2017 tells of the many car wash operations that are treating their staff like modern day slaves.

    There are now about 19,000 car was operations in Britain and only 1,000 observe any regulatory requirements and that many staff are paid below the minimum wage, says Dawn Frazer of CWAS (Car Wash Advisory Service).

    Wages for these staff are around £40-50 for a 12 hour shift and can be as little as £25. Some are not allowed to take smoke breaks and some have to do enforced overtime.

    Some are legal entrants and some are not. Some have been trafficked by gangs who trick them to come to the UK with promises of work and accommodation and then force them to pay for sub-standard and dangerous accommodation.

    Many are not paid for their full hours and any dissenters are beaten up. A lot of the staff do not speak English and need to send money home to their families so they feel trapped in their situation.

    “Anne Read, the Salvation Army’s Director of Anti-Trafficking and Modern slavery, met cleaners who had been rescued after police raided a car wash and saw the consequences of days spent standing in trade effluent – used car wash water.
    One of them seemed reluctant to remove his shoes. When asked if he was OK, he showed us his feet. He had been wearing just his own lightweight shoes to work and over time the harsh chemicals in the cleaning fluids had fused his shoes on to his feet, which meant that he had not been able to take them off for weeks. They had to be surgically removed.”

    So, going back to the first question – Are we ignorant parties to slavery?

    Do we ever consider the working conditions of the people who clean our cars?

    Are we only interested in just getting our cars clean regardless of their working conditions?

    Are we glad that there are people out there that are cleaning our cars so we don’t have to?

    I for one am appreciative of the service that a car wash provides and this is not written to say that we shouldn’t use the car washes.

    I had been using a local car wash for some time but I recently moved to another because I felt things were not right. The one I use now is not local and it is more expensive but I can see the visible differences in the staff’s attitude.

    As consumers, we have the power to make changes.

    Just because something is cheaper or more convenient, does it mean it is the true choice?

    Is it possible that the responsibility lies with us in discerning what is the truth or what is not?

  14. Last year this illegal industry was generating profits of 150 billion dollars.

    What on earth is it today?
    What is the real figure as we may not know the whole truth?

    It makes me ask what on earth is going on when we as humans think it is ok to treat another fellow brother in this way. At a particle level, I know we are all inter-connected and if we look at our young children they have no division regardless of colour, gender, age, culture, religion or nationality. So when does it change and what comes through us and alters our natural way of being to behave in such extreme ways like human trafficking?

    What’s going on for these human traffickers who are in it for money? Bottom line is greed and there is no getting away from that.
    Who feeds that greed?
    Where is the root of it and how can we stop it?
    Are these the questions we should all be asking at the next dinner party, as not talking about this ugly stuff going on in our world is going to keep things as they are?

    At least if we talk and get these topics discussed, chances are more of us will be aware of what is really going on.

    Easy to say it’s not happening in our family or it’s in another country but if we are all inter-connected, which we are, then surely it does in some way affect us, even if we choose to not be aware of this immutable fact.

  15. Ever since reading this article I have not been able to eat prawns. Some may say this is a knee-jerk reaction to what I’ve read, but I feel that it has called me to a great responsibility. Knowing the abuse that some of our seamen and women go through to get this fish to us, I cannot ignore what I have read.

    Whilst I cannot physically stop this from happening, I can vote with my feet by not supporting a trade that I know is abusive. That in effect sends a message out into the world that this abuse is unacceptable. It is always our intention behind what we do that holds weight and not just the mere act.

  16. It would be true to say that these statistics are shocking and that we have modern day slavery going on under our watch or shall I say under our nose.

    Today I got a phone call from a woman I have briefly met once . She said she was trapped and went through a whole list of things and it turns out she is highly educated in another country but her husband who resides in UK is keeping her like a slave. To the world and its brothers it all looks great but here we have a real life case of someone so scared they see no way out.

    Imagine how many real life stories there are like this around the world and can we honestly say we have a massive crisis where we are simply doing nothing?

    Her exact words at the start of the conversation were “my husband is out of this world”. I asked her to clarify as this is a saying where we sometimes use it for someone who is living way beyond human existence and has amazing qualities. She said she meant a monster with no human qualities.

    How many of us know of slaves but we call them wives who are never allowed out and have no means of connection to the outer world?
    Does it make our blood boil?
    Do we care enough?
    Do we hope all this stuff will go away?

    All I know is this is not the first and this will most certainly not be the last.
    There are going to be a lot more calls of people asking for help as they know how they are living is not true.

    Dear World

    Are we open and ready?
    Are we equipped?
    Are we living in a way that can support humanity back to who we truly are?

    I know for certain, I am and it comes from the choices I make, day in and day out to live a life where Responsibility is at the very essence.

  17. Sunday 23rd July 2017

    9 adult men died – found in a sweltering truck in Texas.

    They were hot to the touch, and there was no sign of water in the truck.

    Heart rates were said to be 130 beats per minute.

    The death toll could rise as 30 others were taken to hospital – 17 of them have life-threatening injuries.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/many-texas-human-trafficking-tragedy-survivors-clinging-to-life/

    This is a case of human trafficking.

    In total there were more than 100 people inside the truck. Some have run away.

    That weekend temperatures in Texas had reached over 100 degrees.

    There was also no air conditioning.

    What has happened that there is no value for other human life?

    If in our right minds, would we treat each other in this way – selling/trading others like commodities, dumping them in vans and treating them like rubbish?

    People are blaming the harsher immigration policies for contributing to the deaths but is there more?

    Is it because we no longer value people and have put profit before people worldwide, the reason why this is happening?

    If we changed our attitudes to our employees, our businesses, our work ethic and were much more caring to ourselves and others, would this leave less room for human trafficking to occur, rather than the current trend we have?

  18. You state Human Trafficking is the fastest growing Global Crime, in this report from the BBC yesterday, 10 August 2017, it is certainly proving so. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40885353

    ‘Modern slavery and human trafficking in the UK is “far more prevalent than previously thought,” the National Crime Agency has said.’

    The NCA says ‘there were more than 300 live policing operations currently, with cases affecting “every large town and city in the country”.’ This is just in the UK, suggesting there are tons of thousands of victims.’ That is EVERY large town and city in the UK. This is shocking.

    “The more we look, the more we find,” the NCA’s vulnerabilities director Will Kerr said.” He said they have been shocked by the scale of what they have seen.

    They warn that the key sectors for slavery are now ‘food processing, fishing, agriculture, construction, domestic and care workers and car washes.’

    ‘The NCA said that signs of abuse included anything that suggested someone was being controlled or coerced into work, such as:
    the manner of their dress
    visible signs of injuries
    signs of stress
    the manner in which they had come to work in a particular area

    Its say’s they are often to be hiding in plain sight such as nail bars, construction sites, brothels and cannabis farms, originating from Albania, Nigeria, Vietnam, Romania and Poland and can be men, women or children.. of all ages.

    Sexual exploitation being the most common form of slavery in the UK.

    The NCA showing an increase from 1,745 in 2013 to 3,805 in 2016 as potential victims.

    Mr Kerr said that it is further complicated for the authorities by the fact that some people do not realise they are a victim of slavery.

    Why are we doing this to our fellow men, women and children.. our equals?

    Why is money more important than each valuable precious person that is abused in this crime?

    By caring for ourselves, each of us, would we then extend this to others, build a loving energy we can all live from.. make our priority about people and stop this degrading crime?

  19. The National Crime Agency has said the previous UK estimate of 10,000 victims of trafficking into modern slavery is only ‘the tip of the iceberg’ and there are cases in ‘every UK town and city’.

    300 live policing operations. ‘The more we look, the more we find’.

    The growth is apparently down to the huge amounts of money that can be made – trafficking people is more lucrative than trafficking drugs.

    Food processing, fishing, agriculture, construction, domestic and care workers, nail bars, car washes and more.

    There is no ‘typical’ victim.

    The chances are we are all coming across trafficked workers and the oppressed, day in day out.

    What will we do now we know it has got this bad – as if 10,000 wasn’t enough. Will we see more? Will we talk more? Will we report more?

    Will we consider where the demand is coming from to drive this supply?

    Will we look at how WE treat people?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40885353

  20. Evening Standard – 13 October

    People traffickers are risking the lives of migrants by hiding them on top of the engines of lorries and vans in an “extremely dangerous” new trend authorities have warned.

    Europol, the European Union law enforcement organisation are saying gangs “take advantage of the space available between the engine bonnet” to sneak migrants past border checks.

    Other methods include cramming migrants into “airtight containers”.
    Migrant smuggling is now a major business for criminals across Europe.

    Trafficking was a “dangerous business” says British Head of Europol, Rob Wainwright.

    How serious is this that we are prepared to put another human in danger?

    Who can we blame and who do we judge and condemn here?

    The fact this is in the media means it’s been going on and the question is for how long?

    What other new ways and methods are our people traffickers going to come up with?

    It seems like the dealers have the next thing created and it feels like things out of a horror movie but this is real life – human life at risk.

    What will it take to turn the tides?
    What can we as individuals do?

    Can we get real and realise this problem is not going to go away no matter what stops and measures we take?

    Can we apply the supply and demand theory here –
    Could it be possible that as long as we want something which is the demand then the suppliers, in this case the dealers, the dodgy people will get away with it?

    How bad are things going to have to get before we stop and ask –
    WHAT ON EARTH IS GOING ON THAT WE ARE RISKING OUR LIVES?

  21. Yesterday morning on BBC Radio 4 (18th October) Kevin Hyland – the UK’s first Anti-Slavery Commissioner gave some startling figures on Modern Day Slavery

    40 million globally in Modern Day Slavery

    10’s of thousands in the UK

    The most trafficked within the UK are British Nationals

    Children are the most trafficked in the UK

    We also heard the story of an Eastern European man who was paid £25 a day, sometimes this amount every two days compared to the £150 a day he was promised.

    Something clearly is not right here.

    What allows us who are naturally caring and sensitive people to treat others in this way?

    What leads us to overtake all sense of morality and decency to enslave people for monetary and personal gain?

    Is it greed?

    Are we hurt in some way and so we have given up on life and so any ill behaviour is free to run riot?

    If we do care, is there anyway that we can change all of this?

    One way that I have committed to making changes that I know are effective is by choosing to stand up for what I know is true by living that truth.

    I live by a standard that treats others with respect and decency regardless of their age, gender, occupation or where they come from and I know that by me holding steady and not wavering from this standard, this sends a message out into the world that there are decent people in society that do care about others and will treat people with respect.

    One thing that I have learnt is that we don’t have to give up because we see cruelty around us because deep inside we all know what is true and all we have to do is live that truth in order to bring a different quality and standard to life. One person standing by what they know to be true can make a difference for the rest of the world, as this website and the author of its blogs are showing us.

  22. Metro News – 24 October 2017

    Police are failing to tackle slavery.

    Human traffickers and slavery has gone on unchecked because of police failings.

    Senior officers are reluctant because of the scale of the problem.

    So can we actually sit here, point the finger and blame?
    OR can we look at what we all seem to expect these days from the police service.

    They have government cutbacks and more crime to deal with at every level.

    Could it be possible they are overwhelmed with what they have to deal with and are simply not equipped to take on slavery, which let’s face it, has been going on since day dot just with a new modern day name called Trafficking in Persons?

    Reading this blog it confirms we have a serious issue in our world and it is getting worse.
    The fact Human Trafficking is the fastest growing global crime speaks volumes.
    It is estimated that there are more than 13,000 victims of modern slavery in the UK.

    What if money was not in the equation? What would happen then?
    What is it that drives us in the name of money to disregard and neglect human life?
    WHY are we blinded when it comes to the life of another fellow brother?
    WHY have we got slavery today when it was abolished in 1833?
    How Intelligent are we as a race of beings if 184 years later we are still choosing to treat another human as less?
    WHY are we not making this front page headlines and putting a stop to it once and for ALL?

  23. More on trafficking and modern day slavery.

    Crime gangs in Cornwall are using holiday lets as pop-up brothels where foreign women are forced to work.

    The chief constable has called this out for the rape that it is “These aren’t women who are sexually consenting, these are women who are under duress and you are committing rape, let’s say it as it is.”

    This is in the popular UK tourist town of Newquay. Do the locals see this happening – see something that looks wrong, like different men going in and out of the same house all day/night?

    Do we know what is going on under our noses? Do we care?

    And the men committing this rape – are they kidding themselves that these women are working willingly?

    The police are struggling to tackle the problem not only because they lack resources and the cases are complex, but also, they believe, because the public lack sympathy for the victims.

    The local chief constable has called on the community – that’s all of us – to help:

    “If you don’t want to call local police and speak to specialists, you can report concerns to the modern slavery national helpline, on 08000 121 700.”

    http://www.cornwalllive.com/news/cornwall-news/police-cornwall-struggling-grips-pop-676667

  24. An article in the ‘Evening Standard’, 10th November 2017, talks about a “Virtuous cycle that can help end slavery” and looks at the crucial role of big business in the fight against modern slavery.

    According to the article, no big company in the world can claim to be slave-free.

    So, depending on where you live and what your lifestyle is, you almost certainly have been touched by slavery in one form or another – buying goods made by people forced to work in appalling conditions, stripped of their freedom and their dignity.

    Slavery is flourishing. There are more slaves now than at any given time in history.

    That’s because slavery has evolved and today it successfully caters for the growing industry of sexual exploitation and for the rising demand for cheap goods.

    Slavery exists on our street corners, from nail bars to car washes to hotels.

    Around the world more than 40 million people are currently enslaved. 30% in sex trafficking, 70% in forced labour and this is only a conservative estimate.

    Slavery is organized crime at its most efficient driven by almost total impunity for the traffickers. It offers low risks and high returns, a perfct recipe for a business worth $150billion a year.

    A slave is someone who is forced to work under violence, fraud or coercion for little or no pay.

    The article states that as supply chains become more complex and intricate, it becomes more difficult for those running the company to become aware of the issue.

    To that effect, the Chief Executive of the Thomson Reuters Foundation has put slavery on the business agenda. In 2015 she launched the ‘Stop Slavery Award’ which rewards companies that have excelled in efforts to eradicate forced labour from their supply chains.

    She says, “Encouraging businesses to fulfill their responsibility in ridding the world of this crime is a huge step forward and we hope to create a “virtuous cycle” where leading corporations set a gold standard for others to follow. That is why I call on companies to join the Evening Standard and stamp out modern slavery. We need big businesses to flex their muscles. Without the might of corporate collaboration, the toxic stain of slavery will continue to spread.”

    Yes, we can say that this is a great initiative, but why does such an initiative have to exist in the first place?

    The article talks about how big companies find it difficult to keep control of who is on their supply chains, but is it possible that if the company were truly concerned about the welfare of those who are making their products, there would be NO difficulty in keeping track of their supply chain?

    Surely the responsibility lies with the company to ensure that they know every step of the process in their supply chains?

    Is it possible that if the company were truly committed to their staff and supply chains, they would know exactly who they are dealing with?

    Is it possible that if the company truly cared about their product, they would WANT to know the exact details of who does what?

    Is it possible that companies are not truly bothered about how their products are made, but care more about what profit they can make?

    Of course, a company has to make profit, but should that profit come at the expense of others?

    These companies have signed up to try and eradicate modern day slavery, but is it possible that the actions of these same companies helped to create what we know as modern day slavery due to the incessant demand for cheaper goods and /or the demands of the shareholders to create more profit?

    A recent news item reported on the fact that workers making clothes for a well known retail fashion store were leaving notes in the garments they had made saying that they had not been paid for several months.

    Is it possible that slavery will continue to be allowed to flourish until we all start to take more notice of what is truly going on and stop demanding cheaper goods?

    However we want to dress it up, slavery not only still exists but is so much more prevalent than it was over 200 years ago.

    Yes, it may not be ‘in our face’ anymore but the fact that it is hidden is more insidious.

    Isn’t it time that we started to take responsibility and start to ask questions?

  25. Today is International Day for the Abolition of Slavery.

    http://www.un.org/en/events/slaveryabolitionday/

    For every 1000 people in the world, 5.4 of them are slaves.

    That means more than 5 out of every 1000th person on the planet are in slavery. Today. In 2017.

    This is hard to process.

    It shows just how prevalent slavery is today.

    There is an anti-slavery protocol, called the Forced Labour Protocol, whereby governments are asked to commit to protecting their people. The commitments are for such basic things:

    – be clear what slavery is
    – prevent it
    – educate people about it
    – help victims
    – work with other countries to prevent it

    Is it shocking to us that we need such a protocol? Is it shocking to us that every country in the world is not already committed to and doing this?

    The private sector plays a huge part. 16 million of the 40 million people in slavery are in the private sector.

    Per the quote in Tim’s comment above – can any big company in the world claim to be slave-free?

    And if the private sector is so complicit, even if we don’t use sex workers or have an involvement in forced marriage, can any of us say with conviction we are not a part of this?

    What part could we, as everyday individuals, play here to turn this around?

    Could it start simply with a true acknowledgement of what is going on? With a decision to pay attention and not turn a blind eye? With a consciousness around what we are buying and what we are paying and to whom?

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