21st Century Slaves
About 27 million people worldwide are bought and sold, held captive, brutalized, exploited for profit.
Debt bondage occurs where a borrower
(debtor) agrees to work for a lender to pay off a debt. But this debt is never
paid off, because the working conditions and repayment of the debt are not made
clear and so the debtor must continue working for the lender.
Debt bondage flourishes in countries like India, Pakistan, Nepal and Brazil, where very poor people cannot earn a living. Their only opportunity is to borrow from landlords or local businessmenand then work for them to pay off their debt, which often never ends. They live and die in debt and pass the debt on to their children.
Most children in poorer countries
leave school and begin their working lives, when they are very young. The most
common forms of child work are domestic tasks (often as other people's servants),
or in farming or family businesses.
Around 750.000 children work in the carpet industry in Asia, mainly in India and Pakistan. In the worst cases young children are bonded to factory owners or even kidnapped. They are forced to work up to twenty hours a day without a break or adequate food.
In many countries it is common for children to work as domestic servants in the homes of other people. Usually girls, which are mostly under the age of 14 (some are only five or six), do this work. Often they are exploited, isolated, badly treated and beaten, or even sexually abused.
Trafficking in people
Trafficking means that people are removed from their community by force or by deceit, and trapped in situations from which they cannot escape. Trafficking in people is a profitable business, but unlawful and often dangerous. Some children and young people are sold, forced or trickes into working in the sex industry by traffickers and are not free to leave. Even if they get the chance to return home they have to face discrimination from their family and community or find it difficult to marry. As a result, many remain working in the sex industry.
Illegal migrants, who come into a country without permission, live in an in-between world. They have to work in every job they get and they can't complain against bad treatment for fear that they will be found and sent home. Some of the worst abuses occur where migrants work as domestic servants. They are often confined in their employer's house, isolated or abused. Many of them are found in the oil-rich countries of the Middle East, but there are also illegal and exploited migrant workers in Europe.
In some countries the government
acts as the slave master. One of these countries is Myanmar ( Burma ), which has
been ruled by a military dictatorship since 196. The government forces people to
work for it without pay and in terrible conditions. Labour can continue for days,
weeks or months.Under this system hundreds of thousands of people have been
forced to work against their will and without payment.
But also the People's Republic of China, millions of prisoners spend years in slave labour camps.
( Plakat - gestaltet von der WPF - Gruppe "Englisch" - 7.a )
( Ein Teil der WPF - Gruppe vor ihrem Plakat / li. Autorin: Andrea Lentner)