Slavery still exists today - and is a booming business worldwide. Without slavery, most of the products we consume everyday would be significantly more expensive.
Officially, slavery has been abolished everywhere - but really only on paper. Slavery in today’s world can take many forms: political imprisonment, child labor or the forcible recruitment of child soldiers as well as more classical forms of physical and economic exploitation. The renowned slavery expert Professor Kevin Bales from the University of Roehampton in London calculates there are about 27 million slaves in the latter category worldwide, although recent estimates put the figure as high as 35 million. And aid organizations, say more than 100 million people are living under slavery-like conditions. We consume what they produce. Bales explains that the shoes you are wearing and the carpet you are walking on may have been made by slaves in Pakistan. Slaves in the Caribbean may have helped produce the sugar you use in your kitchens and the toys your children play with. In West Africa, he notes, children are kidnapped and forced to work on cocoa plantations. None of them get paid. Europe and the USA also have their slaves, often working in the sex trade: human trafficking is booming. Our legal systems have failed to combat modern slavery effectively. In Europe, attempts to develop a uniform strategy and common legal approach have so far come to naught.
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