The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 1956 UN Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade and Institutions and Practices Similar to Slavery. Yet it is still very much alive and well despite the fact that it is banned in most of the countries where it is practiced. Millions of women, men and children are coerced or forced into slavery and are sold like objects, forced to work in dehumanizing conditions for little or on pay and are oftentime abused by their employers. Modern-day slavery can be defined as unlawful imprisonment, demoralization of human being and the violation of human rights of others.
Modern-day Slavery Practices
The International Labor Organization and respected abolitionists put the global number of slaves at between 10-30 million worldwide (Maddox, 2012). According to the United Nations the total market value of human trafficking at 32 billion U.S. dollars. In Europe, criminals are pocketing around $2.5 billion per year through sexual exploitation and forced labor (Maddox, 2012). In essence, modern day slavery is alive and very prominent all over the world. Modern day slavery manifest in many forms namely forced labor, bonded labor, sex trafficking, forced migrant labor, involuntary domestic servitude, and forced child labor.
According to the US State Department 2005 and 2007 reports, between 14,500 and 17,500 people are trafficked into the U.S. each year. Worldwide, there are roughly 800,000 people that are trafficked across international borders and of that number 70 percent are females (Anka Rising, 2012). Based on a 2009 research study conducted by the United Nations nearly 20 percent of human trafficking victims are chidren. Furthermore, in an extract from the US State Department “Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP)” (June, 2009) the following facts were revealed:
1 – The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation; 2 – While the majority of trafficking in the PRC occurs within the country’s borders, there is also considerable trafficking of PRC citizens to Africa, other parts of Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and North America; 3 – Women are lured through false promises of legitimate employment and forced into commercial sexual exploitation largely in Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, and Japan; 4 – Chinese women and men are smuggled throughout the world at great personal financial cost and then forced into commercial sexual exploitation or exploitative labor to repay debts to traffickers, and; 5 – Women and children are trafficked to China from such countries as Mongolia, Burma, North Korea, Russia, Vietnam, Romania, and Ghana for purposes of forced labor, marriage, and sexual slavery (p. 104).
Addressing Modern-day Slavery
The US State Department suggest that punishment, protection and prevention are ways of addressing and cracking down on modern-day slavery, namely human trafficking. The 2009 TIP Report analyzes foreign goverment anti-trafficking laws and policies in respect to the type of punishment imposed on trafficking offenders. As such, the enactment of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (TVPRA of 2008) was put into place to strengthened the U.S. Government’s criminal statute on forced labor (Trafficking in Persons, 2009, p. 26). The act clears up any misconception about nonphysical forms of coercion, that are mostly recognized as potent tools used by traffickers and provides a detailed explanation of “abuse or threatened abuse of law or legal process,” a prohibited means of coercion under both the forced labor and sex trafficking statutes.