Slavery | What Does Slavery Look Like Today?


When we think of the word slavery, the first thing that comes to our mind is when the Africans first set foot in the United States of America in the early 1600s against their will and were made slaves. This was approximately 400 years ago and it marks the biggest event related to slavery which was then abolished by Abraham Lincoln in 1863. This is usually what people associate the term ‘slavery’ with. But, what if I tell you that it still exists? This is referred to as modern-day slavery. 

What is modern-day slavery?

Modern-day slavery is the acute misuse of humans for personal or commercial benefit. We are surrounded by it but it is often overlooked because we refuse to label it as ‘slavery’. In today’s day, approximately 40 million people are suffering from this problem all over the world, and a quarter of them are children.

From the outside point of view, slavery might look like someone is doing their normal job. A deeper look into their lives might show that they are being forced into doing something against their will, usually with the support of a threat. Threats, in the modern-day, can range from refusing to pay workers to have them being deported back to their country with no financial support to provide for their families. It is extremely necessary to recognize what slavery in the modern-day looks like and to put an end to it. 

Countries that still face slavery:

Here is a list of countries that still face significantly high amounts of slavery:

  • India – 18.4 million people 
  • China – 3.4 million people
  • Pakistan – 2.1 million people 
  • Bangladesh – 1.5 million people
  • Uzbekistan – 1.2 million people
  • North Korea – 1.1 million people 

Although there are hundreds of countries that face slavery, these six face more of it than any other country. Here is a website on which you can find more information: 

Different forms of slavery:

Human traffickingThis is where humans are traded for labour and sexual businesses to exploit them for the traffickers’ benefit. This includes, but is not limited to, forced marriage, extraction of tissues or organs, and forced surrogacy. 

Forced labourAny work or services one has to provide to another against their will, or held under a threat is counted as forced labour. 

Forced/early marriage – This is when individuals are forced to marry against their will or as a child and are not allowed to leave.

Slavery of children – When children are being forced to work, obviously, with no pay. They potentially include child workers, child soldiers, child marriage, and domestic child slavery. 

Real-life examples representing slavery:

  • It is popular in drug factories. These are usually children brought in from other countries and they are told that if they try to leave, their families will get hurt.
  • Forced begging is also a common form. People bring in individuals from other countries who are forced to beg for money on the sides of the streets. This is fairly abundant in the Middle East and Asia. These beggars are not allowed to keep the money they earn, rather, they owe every last penny to the people who put them up to do the job. 
  • A lot of people are made slaves behind closed doors. This is the most common form of slavery. People are brought in from other countries and are forced to do heavy labour with next to no pay. Situations like these do not come to knowledge unless these people manage to escape to the local police who then offer help. 

To conclude, slavery is an organization in which people are treated like a piece of property. Individuals buy, sell, and trade other people for their own benefit and make them work with little to no pay. A lot of people might not know that it still exists and goes on all around us. It is important for the public to recognize when someone’s ‘job’ takes a turn and becomes a form of slavery. 

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