Slavery. We associate slavery with the nineteenth century trade of Africans across the Atlantic ocean and that it was abolished then. But was it really ever abolished? Slavery itself has always been considered a third world problem when really it happens at every corner of the world, right under our noses. We don’t seem to notice or apprehend that it still exists. How did we let modern slavery into our everyday lives? Is it our fault, as consumers, that this is still occuring to this day? Even after the modern slavery act established in 2015, why do we still find it in our supply chains? Are our selfish needs the reason for the never ending chain of slavery?
With the increasingly fast growth of the human population there is no doubt that because of this slavery is still lurking in the shadows of our day to day lives. The entire planet consists of over seven and a half billion people! We all need clothes and food and obviously we want the newest technology, we want wealth and we want a new car but whose lives are at stake because of our wants and needs? Since there is a higher demand for food and clothing businesses need to work at an extremely fast pace to get our goods into shops and onto websites while still making a profit. As social media is used by millions of people clothing websites are easily advertised. When we come across an oddly cheap online clothing site, we are overwhelmed by the many items we can by for so little. It is tempting to buy all these new things, right? Of course we are saving lots of money! But we do not take the time to evaluate the situation. Why is it so cheap? Where is it coming from? Slaves. That is the simple answer. Businesses and companies want to make profit and what better way to do that than get slaves who are profitable and easily disposable and need little to no pay, right? They are not living breathing humans like the rest of us let us use them to feed our selfish needs, wants and greed. Of course not! We need to abolish it not encourage it! An educated individual, like yourself, would agree that this is morally wrong and we should not fall into the trap of cheap goods. I do agree that saving money is acceptable but not when it is spent on items produced by helpless beings with no way of getting out of this lifelong chain. Who do these companies target? Can we stop this once and for all?
Slavery is not just considered forced labour. In fact, there are different kinds of slavery but all are inhumane, cruel and morally unacceptable. In 2016 over forty million people were victims of modern slavery and unsurprisingly a quarter of them were children. That is ten million children being exploited to harsh conditions! Children are often targeted since they do not need to be paid a lot or anything at all which is perfect for sustaining a profitable business surely. How could anyone think that it is justifiable to condone these actions! Children are forced to work in unbearable conditions for long hours and are unable to leave or they are threatened and experience violence. This often occurs in the developing world as children have little to no education and are not aware of the signs of enslavement. So, as we continue to buy items from these sellers we are only getting more children trapped for the rest of their lives. Would you let that happen to your child? In 2017, of the near twenty five million people, four million of them were forced into military conscription. We can only assume that many of those people are children who have been brainwashed and holding a gun. What have we let this world come to where a child is holding a gun? Why are these people in this situation? Why does slavery continue?
Debt bondage is one of the many causes that slavery still exists in the modern world. Dent bondage happens when families borrow money that they can not return and begin working in factories, farms or in the fishing industry to pay of their debt. But soon enough they lose control over the conditions and the debt becomes impossible to pay off and so their children will join this chain and so will their children. They can not leave or the employer threatens to harm their families and so this debt will never get any smaller and the people will continue working for decades in unimaginable conditions. How does that benefit us? We get cheap and affordable goods. Everyday of our lives we may come across an item that, somewhere down the supply chain, was manufactured by a an enslaved human.
It is not just the clothing industry that exploits their workers. Slavery can be found in any supply chain and you would be surprised that the food industry encourages it. Does it not? For example, the Italian tomato farm produces tonnes of tomatoes annually. They only way they can produce that quantity is with many migrant workers who live in filthy camps where hundreds can be sleeping in one. Sometimes this is the only option the people have. The farm owners exploit and sometimes even rape their migrant workers. You see, although children are an easy target and can be enslaved easily, it is also people who are trying to escape a war zone and are offered a better life elsewhere and are then trafficked across the continent. People who do not have a voice are silenced working away unnoticed. Imagine yourself working away twelve hours everyday for the rest of your life, your documents have been taken from you, you can not run away, you are threatened and abused. You can not see yourself in this position can you? So why should others have to suffer? We are aware of the issue and most of the time look past it. It needs to be acknowledged. This needs to end and it can only end if you know what you are buying and where it comes from. We should be educating people in the developing world not enslaving them. We have the power, including you, to stop monster businesses from manipulating and taking advantage of the ones that are unaware of slavery. This can only stop if we open eyes to the reality and that it will not go away if we do not try combat it.
In conclusion, we should be targeting companies and businesses to make sure that slavery is not occuring. We should not avoid it. Many of us are aware that it happens but only a few are trying to tackle the problem. Why has society come to this? We should be working together helping each other out and recognising when there is a major dilemma like modern slavery. We should take caution in the things we buy because somewhere in the world someone is paying for your goods with their life. With the modern slavery act established in 2015 there should be a major decrease in slavery in supply chains however it is also up to us to help out and abolish it once and for all! We should not have to teach our children about forced labour, human trafficking and debt bondage. This is why, as consumers, we are the source of enslavement and if we want to end it we must take into consideration what we buy and where we buy it from.