Human trafficking and exploitation
What is slavery?
Slavery is currently the second largest criminal activity in the world. There are now around 30 million slaves throughout the world: more, than at any other point in history. How can this be?
As the world has become increasingly market driven and increasingly more organised by way of communication and internet use, human traffickers are having an easier and more profitable time of trafficking people as slaves. Trafficking, by definition, denotes the recruitment of people for work via force or deception. It is a violation of human rights and people – and often children – find themselves trapped in a forced situation of intolerable working conditions with little-to-no rights.
Only one percent of slaves are identified and freed at the current rate.
Yes, but I live in Australia
Many are surprised to know that slavery is alive and well also in developed countries, and certainly in Australia. It is difficult to know exactly how many are trapped in slave situations in Australia but we do know that there has been a significant contingent of underage girls trafficked into Australia for the sex industry, to name one.
What can I do?
First, educate yourself and those you know. Below is a great video resource that is short and informative, that you can watch and share.
Second, do what you can in whatever capacity you can. As the video says, if you are a journalist, write about it. If you are a teacher, teach about it. If you have friends, tell them. If you buy clothes, buy from ethical stores. If you eat chocolate, buy only fair trade chocolate. Your consumer dollars send a message to companies that we want ethical choices and workers to be treated ethically.
You can ask your fish and chip shop where their fish comes from (There are major problems with many Asian fishing boats and forced labour).
You can ask for your uniforms to be made with ethical cotton.
You can buy your birthday and Christmas presents from the TEAR catalogue or other ethical means.
Have a look at sites such as this one http://www.eternalcreation.com/ for ethical clothing and learn the stories of their workers.
The Uniting Church in SA has become a partner with Stop the Traffik and we take seriously our role in making ethical choices where possible.
US National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month
The US President Obama made a Presidential Proclamation that January is to be National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.
“This month, we rededicate ourselves to stopping one of the greatest human rights abuses of our time. Around the world, millions of men, women, and children are bought, sold, beaten, and abused, locked in compelled service and hidden in darkness. They toil in factories and fields; in brothels and sweatshops; at sea, abroad, and at home. They are the victims of human trafficking -- a crime that amounts to modern-day slavery” (to read more see here http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/12/31/presidential-proclamation-national-slavery-and-human-trafficking-prevent)
Stop the Traffik have nominated the 17th February as the day to Start Freedom Sunday. Below are two resources to assist you in this initative in your local context.