Slavery did not end with abolition in the 19th century. The second annual Global Slavery Index (GSI) showed that 35.8 million people are currently suffering under some sort of slavery.
According to the International Slavery Association, practices of slavery in existence range from women forced into prostitution, children and adults forced to work in agriculture, domestic work, factories producing goods for global supply chains, entire families forced to work to pay off generational debts, or even girls forced to marry older men.
Junior Gabriella Lehr said, “I think that it is inhumane to practice this and that it’s unbelievable that this is even an issue still in today’s world.”
Poor working conditions and illegally low wages do violate workers’ laws, but do not account for a person to be considered enslaved.
Senior Erica Aldenese said, “ A country can pass many human rights acts working to eliminate human trafficking and all types of slavery, but those acts won’t mean anything without strong government enforcement.”
If a person is forced to work through mental or physical threat, owned or controlled by an employer through abuse, bought and sold like property or physically constrained, than that person is a slave.
The GSI report showed that modern slavery contributed to the production of at least 12 goods from 58 different countries.
According to the GSI, the highest proportion of an enslaved population remains in the West African nation Mauritania. The second most enslaved place is Uzbekistan, where every autumn, the government forces almost over one million people to harvest cotton.
India accounts for the highest number of slaves where 14.29 million people live in a life of slavery.
Senior Joseph Rodriguez said, “I believe that every human is equal no matter what and that it is a shame people are forced into these acts by their own government. If your country doesn’t support you with human rights, who will?”