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There are an estimated 31,000 people living in condition of modern slavery in Israel (GSI 2018). Women from Eastern Europe, China and Ghana, as well as Eritream men and women are subjected to sex trafficking in Israel. People are often lured through the promise of seemingly legitimate jobs, only to be subjected to commercial sexual exploitation upon arrival.  YB was promised a job as a dancer in Israel. Here she tells of her experience of being trafficked across the Egyptian/Israeli boarder.



Entire families migrate every year from other states in India to find work in Punjab’s brick kilns. The survey data suggest that there are more than 18 million people or 1.4 percent of the total population, who are living in conditions of modern slavery in India. Industries implicated in survey data include domestic work, the construction and sex industries, agriculture, fishing, manufacturing, manual labour, and forced begging. Most of India’s slavery problem is internal, and those from the most disadvantaged social strata—lowest caste Dalits, members of tribal communities, religious minorities, and women and girls from excluded groups—are most vulnerable.Yashodha was trapped in bonded labour in a brick kiln.

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Yar Dut Yai

There are an estimated 465,000 people living in modern slavery in Sudan (GSI 2018). Between 1983 and 2005, the central government of Sudan enslaved tens of thousands of black South Sudanese Christian and traditionalist people. It was part of a genocidal war against South Sudan, with a simple aim: to force South Sudan to become Arab and Muslim. Yar Dut Yai was taken from their home in Sudan and enslaved by a family. They were beaten, verbally abused, and forced to become Muslim.



Afghanistan is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation. Afghan boys and girls are trafficked within the country for commercial sexual exploitation, forced marriage to settle debts or disputes, forced begging, as well as forced labour or debt bondage in brick kilns, carpet-making factories, and domestic service. Afghan children are also trafficked to Iran and Pakistan for forced labuor, particularly in Pakistan’s carpet factories, and forced marriage. Moreover, both government and non-state groups use children in combat, with the Taliban forcibly recruiting and using children as suicide bombers. 11 year old Yahya was living in poverty when he was sold by his parents to smugglers in Afghanistan. He was then handed over to the Taliban and was trained as a suicide bomber. However, rather than carry out what he had been trained for, Yahya surrendered himself to Afghan security forces. He is now in the care of the Afghan state.



Malaysia is a destination and, to a much lesser extent, source and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labour and women and children subjected to sex trafficking. The overwhelming majority of trafficking victims are among the estimated two million documented and an even greater number of undocumented migrant laborers in Malaysia. Foreign workers constitute more than 20 percent of the Malaysian workforce and typically migrate voluntarily—often illegally—to Malaysia from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Burma, Indonesia, the Philippines, and other Southeast Asian countries, mostly in pursuit of better economic opportunities. Some of these migrants are subjected to forced labour or debt bondage by their employers, employment agents, or informal labour recruiters when they are unable to pay the fees for recruitment and associated travel.    Xuan had fallen in to debt when he cousin told her she could get her a job in the country as a masseuse. However, upon arrival Xuan was forced to do sex work to pay off debts incurred from air fares and travel expenses. After getting a phone call informing her that he child was ill Xuan escaped, jumping from the third floor of the building where she was being kept.  



Minority children and those from very poor families are extremely vulnerable to trafficking in China. A highly organised practice exists where couples have children for the very purpose of selling them. Children from minorities are also deceived into trafficking under the false promise of work in hospitality, construction and manufacturing but are instead forced to engage in criminal activity or prostitution. There are also an estimated 1.5 million children currently enslaved as forced beggars in China. Xiaoxiang, a young Chinese boy was playing with his brother in his front garden when he was abducted for illegal adoption domestically. Xiaoxiang was rescued by police working on another child abduction and reunited with his family.

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There are an estimated 10,000 people living in modern slavery in Hong Kong (GSI 2018). Approximately 370,000 foreign domestic workers, primarily from Indonesia and the Philippines, work in Hong Kong; some become victims of forced labour in the private homes in which they are employed. An NGO report released in 2016 estimated as many as one in six foreign domestic workers is a victim of labour exploitation. Employment agencies often charge job placement fees in excess of legal limits, and sometimes withhold identity documents, which may lead to situations of debt bondage of workers in Hong Kong. The accumulated debts sometimes amount to a significant portion of the worker’s first year salary. Some employers or employment agencies illegally withhold passports, employment contracts, or other possessions until the debt is paid. Some workers are required to work up to 17 hours per day, experience verbal, sexual or physical abuse in the home, and/or are not granted a legally required weekly day off.    WS, a 25-year-old woman from Ponorogo, Indonesia was trafficked to Hong Kong for domestic work.



Withelma Ortiz Walker Pettigrew grew up in the U.S. foster care system. Between the ages of 10 to 17 she was subjected to commercial sexual exploitation in Oakland, California, on the streets and in strip clubs and massage parlours. She now serves on the boards of the Human Rights Project for Girls (Rights4Girls), and the National Foster Care Youth and Alumni Policy Council, and is a consultant for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. She founded the Still Alive Initiative in 2009, which provides mentoring and counseling for survivors of commercial sexual exploitation, and consulting and training for government agencies, institutions, and nonprofits on youth policy and service provision.

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There are an estimated 518,000 people living in modern slavery in Egypt, 465,000 in Sudan and an estimated 451,000 in Eritrea (GSI 2018). Since 2006 tens of thousands of Eritreans fleeing widespread human rights abuses and destitution have ended up in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. Until 2010, they passed through Sinai voluntarily and generally without any problems and crossed in to Israel. However, since then, Sudanese traffickers have kidnapped Eritreans in eastern Sudan and sold them to Egyptian traffickers in Sinai who have subjected at least hundreds to violence in order to extort large sums of money from their relatives. Winta* escaped Eritrea to Sudan for the second time in 2012. However, she was kidnapped and held by smugglers, subjected to sexual abuse daily. Winta was held until her family paid a ransom to free her.



In 1985 William Akoi Mawwin was captured and forced into slavery at the age of six years. During raids by Muslim militia from Northern Sudan on the villages of the Christian Dinka tribes during the 1980s, tens of thousands of other boys between the ages of four and ten had the same fate. As well, babies and toddlers were killed, and girls were raped, killed, or forced into slavery. Some boys who escaped capture headed to refugee camps in Kenya, but it is estimated that only one in three survived the journey.After seven years in slavery, William escaped and lived on the streets of the capital. He worked to earn money for a passport, and left for Cairo, Egypt, where he found work in a rubber factory before a machinery accident took his hands. In 2001 the US government granted 3600 Sudanese orphans refugee status. Some 500 boys, including 21-year-old William, were placed in Arizona.William fashions his capture as a sudden disappearance: “You’re gone for good.” But his narrative confronts this problem of erasure and offers a solution: “I’m here,” he insists. This assertion of ongoing presence is part of William’s call to action. While his family gave him up as dead after he disappeared—“[n]obody believed,” he observes—William refuses to give up, in turn, on other slave children: “I’m not going to give up. I believe,” he concludes. For while he still doesn’t feel entirely liberated (explaining that his “heart’s not free”), William seeks a final sense of freedom through activism that might lead to a large-scale liberation of Sudan’s slaves. Reminding his reader about “the kids who are slaves today,” he asks: “What are we going to do…?”

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Wati was enslaved in forced domestic labour between 1983 and 2000, where she was beaten and abused. She tried to escape in 1990 and 1992, and escaped successfully in 2000. She told her story to another survivor, Kanthi. Both women were part of the Survivor Advisory Caucus attached to the Coalition Against Slavery and Trafficking in Los Angeles (CAST LA).

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There are an estimated 1,045,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in the Democratic Republic of Congo (GSI 2018). In 2016 several armed groups continued to abduct and forcibly recruit men, women and children as combatants and in support roles such as guards, cleaners, cooks and spies. In 2016, 184 cases of child soldiers were reported, with 1,662 children reported to have separated or escaped from armed groups. Child soldiers who manage to escape remain vulnerable to re-recruitment as adequate rehabilitation services remain unavailable to children suffering trauma, stigmatisation and the continued threat of armed groups. Violette was 12 years old when she was abducted by armed forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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The Global Slavery Index 2018 estimates that on any given day there were nearly 8 million people living in modern slavery in India. While the bonded labour system is formally abolished and criminalised, recent research indicated that bonded labour is still prevalent in India. A 2016 report found that in the state of Tamil Nadu, 351 of 743 spinning mills used bonded labour schemes, otherwise known as Sumangali schemes. Similarly in granite quarries, wage advances and loans with an interest ranging from 24% to 36% are used to bond workers. Situations of debt bondage are often aggravated by the need to raise emergency funds or take on loans for health crises.  Vidya tells of how his community do not use the word bonded labourer, but rather daily wageworkers. Although, he acknowledges that this may be because authorities are putting pressure on farmers to end bonded labour. He talks about how he does a variety of small jobs and keeps track of how much he has repaid each landlord in his mind.



There are an estimated 57,700 people in modern slavery in the US according to GSI estimates. The US attracts migrants and refugees who are particularly at risk of vulnerability to human trafficking. Trafficking victims often responding to fraudulent offers of employment in the US migrate willingly and are subsequently subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude in industries such as forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation. Victor travelled to the US on a work visa where he thought he would be able to get a better life. However, upon arrival his employer took all his documents and subjected him to verbal and physical abuse. In this narrative Victor talks of the importance of speaking out and asking for help.

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The Central African Republic is a source, transit and destination country for men, women and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labour and sexual exploitation. The majority of those trafficked are children subjected to sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, ambulant vending and forced labour. Moreover, civil unrest in the country has led rebels to conscript children into armed forces in the northwestern and northeastern regions, as well as kidnap, rape and subject to conditions of modern slavery, many women in the country.     Victoire, 39, told Human Rights Watch that Seleka fighters took her and four other women to a camp in Bambari in mid-2014. She said that during the month she spent there, multiple fighters raped the women and the fighters’ commander took her as his “wife”. 

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There are an estimated 610,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Thailand (GSI 2018). Men, women and children are victims of human trafficking for forced labour in the Thai fishing industry, subjected to physical abuse, excessive and inhumane working hours, sleep and food deprivation, forced use of methamphetamines and long trips at sea confined to the vessel. Due to the fishing industry relying on trans-shipments at sea to reduce expenditure, some find themselves trapped on long-haul trawlers for years at a time. This makes the monitoring of enslaves labour on fishing vessels costly and difficult.   Vicheth migrated to Thiland with his cousin’s nephew because his family was poor. A broker they met in Poipet trafficked them on to a boat carrying rice. On the boat he worked shifting bags of rice, with each bag weighing 25-50kg, Vicheth’s pay depended on how much he lifted. However, when he asked for money, the boss told him he had not yet worked enough. With a group of workers and a crane, Vicheth would lift several tonnes of rice per day, sometimes getting a break during the day but often working until 2am with no time to sleep. Vicheth worked in the Thai sea and was trafficked several times on to different boats. 



In 1999, Vi was one of about 250 workers brought from Vietnam on a labor contract. A South Korean businessman named Kil Soo Lee had bought a garment factory near Pago Pago, in American Samoa, and required sewing machine operators. Vi was recruited by a Vietnamese government-owned enterprise called Tourism Company 12, and told she was heading for the US. Like the other recruits, she paid $5000 to cover the cost of airfare and work permits, and signed a three-year contract in exchange for monthly paychecks of around $400, plus free meals and housing, and return air fare. But upon arrival in American Samoa, the recruits were forced to work to pay off smuggling fees. Lee confiscated their passports to prevent them from escaping, and quickly stopped paying them altogether, though kept charging them for room and board. He withheld food, ordered beatings, and forced them to work 14-18 hour days. Female employees were sexually assaulted, and those who became pregnant were forced to have abortions or return to Vietnam. Vi’s story of slavery is also one of prosecution. In 2000, two workers at Lee’s factory sought legal help from attorneys. On behalf of more than 250 factory workers, the attorneys filed a pro-bono class-action lawsuit against Daewoosa and the Vietnamese government. The case was publicized by human rights groups, and the two workers who asked for legal help disappeared. Their bodies were never found. Then, in November 2000, a group of workers refused to return to their sewing machines, and a fight ensued between workers and factory guards. During the incident, one woman lost an eye and two other workers were hospitalized. This gained the attention of local law enforcement and the FBI Field Office in Honolulu began investigating Daewoosa in February 2001. Enforcing the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), federal agents closed down the factory and arrested Lee on charges of involuntary servitude and forced labor. He was deported to Hawaii in March 2001. Though the recruiting companies and the Vietnamese government refused to pay for the workers’ flights home, they left American Samoa. Some returned to Vietnam and more than 200, including Vi, were flown to the US and admitted as potential witnesses for the prosecution at Lee’s trial. In April 2002, the High Court of American Samoa ordered the factory and two Vietnamese government-owned labor agencies to pay $3.5 million to the workers. Lee claimed bankruptcy. In February 2003, he was found guilty of involuntary servitude, extortion, money laundering and bribery, and was sentenced to life imprisonment. The court also ordered him to pay $1.8 million in restitution to the workers. Vi, and the other Vietnamese workers who came to the US, applied for “T” visas, issued to victims of trafficking as a result of the TVPA.



According to the 2016 Global Slavery Index, over 2 millions people in Pakistan live in slavery. One of the most prevalent forms of slavery here is bonded labor, in which an initial debt assumed by a worker as part of the terms of employment is exploited, ultimately entrapping other family members, sometimes for generations. Bonded labor is concentrated in Sindh and Punjab provinces, but also occurs in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces, in agriculture and brick-making and, to a lesser extent, in fisheries, mining, and handicraft- and carpet-making. Some feudal landlords and brick kiln owners affiliated with political parties use their influence to protect their involvement in bonded labor. Veero’s family took salary advances as migrant farm workers, after which the landowner trapped them by claiming the debt was never repaid. Veero was able to escape her enslavement on foot, a difficult and dangerous journey. Today she works on farms as a freewoman, and helps with the release of other slaves. So far she has helped at least 700 others out of slavery.

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It is estimated that almost 8 million people are living in conditions of modern slavery in India (GSI 2018). The skewed sex ratio in some regions of India has fuelled the trafficking and selling of women and young girls as brides within India. Women are reportedly sold off into marriage by their families, sometimes at a young age, and end up enduring severe abuse, rape and exploitation by their husbands. It is also reported that women and girls from impoverished backgrounds have been lured by promises of marriage by younger men from urban areas, then forced into sex work once married.  Veeramma was forced to marry at the age of 12. She works along with her husband on a cottonseed farm, however she does not receive the money she earns. After 3 years of marriage, at the age of 15, Veeramma is worried about not having children, fearing her relationship with her husband if she does not conceive

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There are an estimated 31,000 people living in condition of modern slavery in Israel (GSI 2018). Women from Eastern Europe, China and Ghana, as well as Eritream men and women are subjected to sex trafficking in Israel. People are often lured through the promise of seemingly legitimate jobs, only to be subjected to commercial sexual exploitation upon arrival.  VB was trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation in Israel. Here she tells of what she had to endure on a daily basis