Largely a matter of logistic socio-political influences. A summarised list of elements would be;
How does slavery happen?
Modern slavery can affect people of any age, gender or race. However, most commonly, slavery affects people and communities who are vulnerable to being taken advantage of.
It can be someone living in poverty and having no real prospects for a decent job, who will accept a good sounding offer of a job abroad that turns out something else that what was promised.
It can be someone from a community heavily discriminated against, such as Dalits in India, who will have to borrow money for a medical treatment from a wealthy farmer, and will fall into debt bondage for decades with no hope of help from corrupted authorities.
Many people think that slavery happens only overseas, in developing countries. In fact, no country is free from modern slavery, even Britain. The Government estimates that there are tens of thousands people in modern slavery in the UK.
Why were African’s used for slave labour?
- Lack of immunity to diseases; high mortality rates made Natives a poor investment as slaves (e.g. they died off in greater numbers)
- The African slave market was more convenient and cost-effective, compared to warring with tribes and trying to enslave a people that would either die quickly in bondage, or could escape more readily.
- Suicide was vastly more common at the point of enslavement. This was a sort of macabre market force. Those African slaves that made it through the gauntlet – being captured by slave raiders, amassed in horrific staging areas, and then taken across the sea in slave ships, were less likely to kill themselves after they arrived in the Americas. Natives being captured in their homelands and enslaved would often kill themselves (just as Africans were more prone to commit suicide in Africa during the initial stages of their enslavement). This is precisely why the Indian slave trade that did exist from the late 1600 until the early 1700s, actually sent the majority of Native slaves to the Caribbean, ironically, often in exchange for African slaves. The same principle was at play though…when the Indians arrived in these locations where Blacks made up the majority of the population, they had nowhere to run and seek freedom.
Slavery is also more likely to occur where the rule of law is weaker and corruption is rife. It can also happen to groups of people who are not protected by the law, for example migrants whose visa status is irregular are easy to blackmail with deportation.
Or it might be someone who happens to be born to a mother coming from a ‘slave’ cast, literally owned by their masters from the day they are born.
Modern slavery in numbers
- 40.3 million people are in modern slavery across the world
- 10 million children are in slavery across the world
- 30.4 million people are in slavery in the Asia-Pacific region, mostly in bonded labour
- 9.1 million people are in slavery in Africa
- 2.1 million people are in slavery in The Americas
- 1.5 million people are in slavery in developed economies
- 16 million slavery victims are exploited in economic activities
- 4.8 million people are in forced into sexual exploitation
- 99% of people trafficked for sexual exploitation are women and girls
- 4.1 million people in slavery are exploited by governments
- US$ 150 billion – illegal profits forced labour in the private economy generates per year
*All estimates by ILO