We talk at great length of being civilized, of having laws, of respecting each other, of human rights and the talk goes on. Words are carefully crafted, statements painstakingly drafted, teeth especially whitened and politicians suitably dressed pontificate at great length their desire for a better world. We have organisations: United Nations (UN), World Bank (WB), International Monetary Fund (IMF) and a host of charities all barracking us to support them to end poverty, prevent illness, aid victims of drought and famine and so on. Television adverts by the score, using emotional blackmail, implore us to show empathy with the plight of others. Yet I don’t see much obvious content on slavery, in fact not very much of anything.
There are many reasons for the lack of candour about people trafficking. Perhaps it is not a vote catcher or it may upset friends in high places or a country you hope to influence on other matters. Perhaps, it’s not a headline grabber, so few column inches appear in the press. I don’t know the number of column inches that same-sex marriage or the need to maintain and enhance foreign aid provoked in the UK but it was substantial. Politicians were motivated to push the issues through parliament, irrespective of the popular view. They dictated to the people.
Note that none of the issues mentioned are about every day being a nightmare for millions of people. Some may argue that ‘aid’ is about suffering. I would contend that ‘aid’ is more about winning friends and influencing leaders in emerging countries. The poor rarely see much of the donated aid.
Is slavery a – too hot to handle- topic? Are politicians afraid to bring to the fore an issue they know is difficult to solve? If the issue became current they may have to do something about it and that may mean challenging leaders of nations where the evil practice is most prevalent. Not many Trade Deals to be had with leaders embarrassed into taking action on slavery. Money, it has a peculiar affect on some people.
The same is true of the press; they may have campaigns on sensitive issues but nothing that compares to the horror of slavery. It has been suggested that newspapers do not have the resources to fund the investigative journalism required over an extended period that would bring justice to a flagrantly unjust situation. Is it not possible on such an issue that a joint fund could be arranged, with a shared authorship of the material generated? What of funding: from charities, foreign aid, trade unions, (workers of the world unite) a media mogul, the lottery fund or even public subscriptions.
Raise awareness by having a small weekly column looking at websites that deal with slavery. If nothing else it will encourage more people to become aware. It builds momentum.
Let precedence go to hell, break with the norm, enquire of Houdini how to get out of the straightjacket! Are there no Wilberforce’s anymore? Investigative journalism could prove the key to further action and it is vital that collected data comes from an independent source. Unfortunately, Wilberforce has been dead for a long time, nowadays we have ‘the art of the possible’ politician, with the built-in excuse, ‘it wasn’t possible,’ who always use words like: but, if, maybe. We live in the time of the wishy-washy, lame-duck Liberal and these guys like to talk. Lots!
Memo: “It always seems impossible until it’s done”. Nelson Mandela
“There are more human slaves in the world today than ever before.” www.randomhistory.com
It is difficult to verify the claim above because the collation of data is bedevilled by problems:
“Because of its hidden nature, it is difficult to get accurate statistics on the numbers affected”. www.antislavery.org
The UN reckons that around 2.5 million people are trafficked each year, half of them are children. The international Labour Organisation (ILO) 2010 estimates that around the globe there are 21m ‘forced labourers, of these 4.5m are also sexually exploited’. It is a difficult number to get your head around as it constitutes more people than some countries have as a population. Twenty-one million people and their screams are overshadowed by the ‘art of the possible’.
There are a plethora of laws. The UN, the main body that collates information is to the forefront of issuing directives. In 1990, the Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and their Families was adopted. It suggested the promotion of regular and managed migration as a means of defeating people trafficking. To me ‘managed migration’ would entail the granting of rights and a proper wage for the workers. However, the guys who employ the migrants just want cheap labour that they can: use, abuse and sack on a whim; a law will not prevent that situation.
Furthermore, The Convention against Transnational Organised Crime was adopted by the UN in November 2000 but did not come into force until September 2003. Why did it take 3 years for an agreement to become official?
To add to their list the UN adopted 3 Protocols:
- Against trafficking in people-December 2003 (117 signatories of 193 members –March 2013)
- Smuggling of migrants – January 2004
- Against the manufacture and trafficking of firearms – July 2005
I am staggered that it took so long for the UN and the representatives of all nations to do such a little thing about people trafficking. Perhaps the rationale lies in the fact that it is now a major criminal activity and not so much about people suffering.
Q. What do they propose to do now they have the directives in place?
Nothing! Decisions are taken at individual nation level therefore the UN has no power to force countries to adhere to the ‘Protocols’. It is a political sham to make people think they are actually doing something. Why?
“This, unfortunately, is one of the most flourishing and profitable criminal industries of the world”. www.buzzle.com
According to the respected, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) trafficking is in the top three (3) for money making alongside drugs and firearms. Law enforcement does not have a good record in combatting the latter two, what hope for people trafficking? The ILO estimates that it generates around $32 billion annually. A massive block to remedying the situation is that it is known in several countries that some policemen and judges are complicit in this heinous crime. buzzle.com
Q. What’s the betting that a politician or two have their greedy little fingers deep in the proverbial pie?
“Trafficking in human beings is a multi-billion-dollar form of international organised crime, constituting modern day slavery”. www.Interpol.int/Crime-areas/
The reason why the crime is thriving according to Interpol is not only the huge profits but “…benefitting from weak legislation and the relatively low risk of detection, prosecution and arrest compared to other activities of transnational organised crime”. Even the UN admits a waning of endeavour in detection and prosecution across Europe.
India is infamous for its use of ‘bonded labour’ which is the: “…most widely used method of enslaving people”. Wikipedia (see India: An Indictment) Pakistan and the whole of Asia seem passive towards it. Don’t assume a change in the law would help; the laws are systematically ignored. Much like the UN itself as all of the nations are members of the UN. Saudi Arabia has an estimated 9 million migrant workers many of whom are badly treated. The USA has recently, June 2013, criticized both Russia and China as failing to combat forced labour and sex trafficking. These are members of the G8 the most powerful nations in the world.
People trafficking appears endemic in Asia but the horror is spread to some extent throughout the world. Of the 2.5 m trafficked each year the UN breaks it down thus:
- 1.4m – Asia & Pacific = 56%
- 250,000 – Latin America & Caribbean = 10%
- 230,000 – Middle East & North Africa = 9.2%
- 130,000 – sub-Sahara Africa = 5.2%
- 270,000 – industrialised countries = 10.8%
The UN contends, that it “…affects every continent and every type of economy”. www.unglobalcompact.org
Will anything change? Not without you and your voice. Peoples’ interest varies as much as plants in the rainforest. Certain issues become ‘must do’, for example the politicians seem possessed by same-sex marriage and homosexual belief generally. In the UK, Prime Minister, David Cameron championed the cause of same-sex marriage and foreign aid. Same-sex marriage has been promoted on a world scale; it has generated substantial column inches in the press and wide coverage on television. How many will it affect? In the UK, anywhere up to a hundred individuals, worldwide, one/two thousand. Slavery an estimated 27 million souls with no say, no choice, no hope.
The furore over Russia and its stated position on homosexuality nearly went thermonuclear. The apoplexy of the PC brigade broke the sound barrier. Twitter went twits-up, famous homosexuals demanded retribution. Calls to ban the Winter Olympics and ban Russians, just ban, ban, ban! Their hypocrisy is matched only by their dictatorial traits. Where are these paragons of human rights of political correctness? Those who consider themselves the embodiment of a civilized society; you should wear a badge of shame!
Let me make it abundantly clear that I am not opposed to homosexuals but given the choice of freeing slaves or same-sex marriage to me is a no-brainer. I wish their passion was directed to save the millions and not unnecessary choice to a few.
Will anything change? Bob Dylan: Long Ago, Far Away – first 2 verses.
To preach of peace and brotherhood,
Oh, what might be the cost!
A man he did it long ago
And they hung him on a cross.
Long ago, far away;
These things don’t happen
No more, nowadays.
The chains of slaves
They dragged the ground
With heads and hearts hung low.
But it was during Lincoln’s time
And it was long ago.
Long ago, far away;
Things like that don’t happen
No more, nowadays.
“You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know”. William Wilberforce. Read a short bio:
Will anything change?
“Unfortunately, despite its prevalence and the innate seriousness of the crime, trafficking is currently not viewed as a priority by government or law enforcement agencies”. He goes on to tell us that we have the ability and capability to tackle human trafficking. Peter Ship: www.guardian.com
“Longitudinal research following villages from slavery to freedom has shown significant freedom dividend”. Nick Grono. www.walkfree.org/modern-slavery/learn/# . Short video have a look.
Will anything change?
A liberal is as a communist is as a fascist. Adherence to a political outlook is as a panoramic vista to a blind person. Their dictum is; agenda, agenda, agenda. Progress is slow in such a small world.
Will anything change?
“As of January 2012 over 27 million people are believed to be working as personal and sex slaves all over the world”. buzzle.com People trafficking is going to need a lot of opposition to end its savagery.