Modern Slavery

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Naseebullah khan
How people are trapped in slavery? Why the exploitation of people for personal and economic benefits have been increasing despite the rapid advancements in education, scientific advancement, globalization, social media outburst, and economic progress? Why slave trade is still dominating the world economy? Why are the so-called developed nations still benefiting from modern-day bondage? Why the world has failed to end servitude?
International labor organizations the ILO has released its shocking report (Global estimate of modern slavery) on modern-day slavery according to which 50 million people were enslaved in 2021 in which 54 percent were female while 1 in 4 were children. Around 1 percent of every 200 is a slave.
The report says that 28 million were trapped in forced labor of which 23 percent were engaged in the business of commercial sex exploitation. 4 out of 5 in commercial sex business exploration were women or girls. 1 in eight in forced labor are children. While 22 million were trapped in forced marriages. It says that a major factor of forced marriages was owing to patriarchal attitudes and 85 percent of forced marriages took place owing to family pressure. The report further says that Two third of forced marriages took place in Asia. Regionally its proportion was high in the Arab countries.
Notwithstanding, the Guardian reports in 2019 that slavery is a huge business of 150 billion USD annually of which 46.9 billion USD is generated in the developed countries including the EU. As for as Pakistan is concerned, the situation concerning slavery is not laudable. The country ranked 8th in the global slavery index in 2020. It was third in 2013 and sixth in 2014.
Modern days servitude includes: Human trafficking, forced labor, debt bondage or debt labor, Child slavery, forced marriages, and traditional slavery (where people are treated as property as their ancestor’s slaves of their masters.) This includes both legal and illegal trade of humans who are transferred for organ transplantation, recruiting them in force forcefully, forced marriages, prostitution, and labor criminality. Many reasons such as poverty, insecurity, debt trap, the failure of providing social insecurity on the part of governments, and bad governance alongside the failure of states as well as the UNO to protect the rights of the people and laws can be held responsible for this sorry state of affairs.
How to cope with this shocking and fastly emerging issue of modern slavery demands a holistic approach and pragmatic strategies. The first and foremost focus should be given to Improving and implementing national and international laws. In 2018 only 122 countries criminalized human trafficking as per the UN trafficking protocol. Only 38 countries criminalized forced marriages. This sorry state of affairs needs a comprehensive plan of implementation from the UNO.
Moreover, an all embarrassing policy mechanism followed by the implementation of human trafficking, child labor, forced marriages, and forced labor, reducing conflicts and violence in the world must be priorities of the UNO. In addition, extending social protection by allocating budgets by countries, giving legal protection in forced marriages, supporting girls and women, improving child education and refining and advancement of the role and responsibilities of trade unions need to be considered on a priority basis. Last but not least the implementation of the Sustainable development goals 2030 (SDG,s) could be a decisive factor in overcoming slavery.

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