When people think of slavery, they most often think of the system that enslaved Africans for hundreds of years. But, while the slavery of more than a century ago still has an impact on society today, slavery is by no means a thing of the past. Modern slavery is a problem today, and it’s happening in some of the most developed countries in the world. In the UK, the Home Office has recently launched a campaign to tackle modern-day slavery. They believe that the practice is more prolific than previously thought. In the United States, experts estimate that hundreds of thousands of people are currently held as modern-day slaves.
Slavery in the modern age is often linked to human trafficking. It is often the result of people taking advantage of the most vulnerable people in society, such as homeless people. But there are no rules as to who could be a victim of slavery. It could be men, women and children, foreigners or people native to the country. Although people might find the existence of slavery more shocking in developed countries, it is happening all over the world. For example, in the northwest African country of Mauritania, slavery has only been illegal since the 1980s. The country has since added further anti-slavery laws, but they are rarely enforced. Asia too has problems with slavery. The Guardian recently reported that a third of migrant workers in the Malaysian electronics industry are trapped in debt bondage.
So what are governments and international organizations doing to tackle modern-day slavery? As previously mentioned, the UK Home Office has launched a campaign to raise awareness of the issue within the country. It is believed that there could be up to 13,000 victims of modern slavery in the UK. This figure includes people trafficked from over 100 countries. The government has proposed the Modern Slavery Bill. This bill aims to provide new powers to England and Wales to help them protect people trafficked into the country and held against their will.
In the US, they are also taking measures to tackle trafficking and slavery. The latest piece of legislation is the Federal Business Supply Chain Transparency on Trafficking and Slavery Bill. The bill aims to protect human rights in business further. It requires businesses with gross receipts of more than $100m to disclose the measures they take to address forced labor and trafficking in their supply chains. Hopefully, measures such as this will help victims to find a lawyer in St. Louis and escape the terrible situations they have found themselves in.
Internationally, organizations are taking measures to address the problem worldwide. Even religious organizations are speaking out against this modern-day epidemic. The Vatican has spoken out against the issue. Pope Francis declared slavery “a crime against humanity”. Charities such as Anti Slavery International and Walk Free are also doing what they can to raise awareness and tackle this horrifying issue. The United Nations is also speaking out.