Students at Presentation College, Bray, Ireland explored the issue of contemporary slavery and created a mural to raise awareness about the different forms of slavery that exist today. They then planned a workshop to present their work to their peers and parents about these issues. The mural has traveled around Ireland inspiring others to engage with the fight against contemporary slavery.
Campaign by the United Nations to bring an end to child labour. The hand-prints reaching out gesture towards the absent child and in doing so resists a common trope within humanitarian campaigns - relying on images of the suffering child to evoke sympathy.
Each day, children make several trips down the mountain, delivering stones from higher up in the Himalayas. They use makeshift harnesses out of ropes and sticks, strapping the stones to their heads and backs. Many of them come from families where everyone is trapped in debt bondage slavery. One of the mothers describes what it was like to be in slavery, “Neither can we die, nor can we survive.”
Indira works in a granite quarry near Katmandu. She is 7 years old. The granite is sent to Britain to provide stone tiles for patios. Children are paid the equivalent of 25 cents a day to perform tiring and dangerous work with little or no safety gear. Approximately 32,000 children in Nepal work in stone quarries. Some are as young as 5 years old Many work besides their parents who are in debt bondage with little hope of escaping. Some live at the work site which is watched by guards who forbid them from leaving. The children are forced to perform hazardous jobs and if they refuse the employer withholds food from the family. Eradicating child labor from Nepal is difficult because it is fundamental to the economy. This mural was painted in conjunction with the 6th Annual Welling Court Mural Project in Astoria, Queens. It is located on 12th Street in between Welling Court and 30th Rd.
The Scarlet Cord by Pamela Alderman is an installation that examines child sex slavery. Her website describes it 'As visitors step inside a 40-foot storage container filled with thirty doors, they enter a secret world. This dark world crosses religious and social economic borders to sell our children for sex. The twisting scarlet cord depicts the trauma bond that connects the children to their traffickers. The weathered doors represent these abused children whose youthful minds have become knotted. Alderman’s art—dedicated to these suffering children tethered within the sex industry—calls for compassionate action.'
In the Philippines, women and children are subjected to sexual exploitation in brothels, bars, and massage parlours, online, as well as in the production of pornography. The Philippines is an international hub for prostitution and commercial sex tourism – a highly profitable businesses for organised criminal syndicates. The demand for sex with children among both local and foreign men has continued to fuel child sex tourism. Rising internet usage rates, the availability of mobile phones and poverty has fostered online child sexual exploitation. Erich took up a job as a babysitter for her friend Joeychev’s Aunt in order to save money to go back to school. However upon arrival at the house Erich was locked inside a room with other girls and forced to perform ‘shows’ in front of a computer. Forced to work for twelve hours at a time without breaks Erich was under constant surveillance. It was when the house was raided by police that Erich was freed.
Experts estimate millions of women and children are victims of sex trafficking in India. Traffickers use false promises of employment or arrange sham marriages in India or Gulf States and subject women and girls to sex trafficking. In addition to traditional red light districts, women and children increasingly endure sex trafficking in small hotels, vehicles, huts, and private residences. Traffickers increasingly use websites, mobile applications, and online money transfers to facilitate commercial sex. Children continue to be subjected to sex trafficking in religious pilgrimage centres and by foreign travellers in tourist destinations. Many women and girls, predominately from Nepal and Bangladesh, and from Europe, Central Asia, Africa, and Asia, including minority populations from Burma, are subjected to sex trafficking in India. Gita was just 10 years old when she was taken by her aunt and uncle and sold to a brothel in India. Gita was rescued and now works with a charity to prevent human trafficking in to India.
Men, women and children make up those trafficked in Indonesia, subjected to forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation. Brokers working in rural areas are known to lure men and boys into forced labour on palm oil, rubber and tobacco plantations, while women and under-age girls are lured into work as domestics in private homes and as commercial sex workers. Rising unemployment and slowed job creation has pushed people into the informal sector unprotected by labour laws and thus made them more vulnerable to exploitation. There are currently only 18 shelters in Indonesia working to rescue and rehabilitate traffic victims. Ika dropped out of school at 15 years old and was offered a job in Batam by a new friend. However once she arrived she realised she had been trafficked in to commercial sex work. Ika was subjected to physical beatings by her employer regularly and was ignored by clients when she asked them for help. Eventually, Ika was able to get hold of a phone and message her mother who informed the authorities. A raid was organised and Ika was rescued.
In the Philippines, women and children are subjected to sexual exploitation in brothels, bars, and massage parlours, online, as well as in the production of pornography. The Philippines is an international hub for prostitution and commercial sex tourism – a highly profitable businesses for organised criminal syndicates. The demand for sex with children among both local and foreign men has continued to fuel child sex tourism. Rising internet usage rates, the availability of mobile phones and poverty has fostered online child sexual exploitation. At the age of 13 Joeychev, along with her friend Erich, took a job working as a live-in nanny for her aunt to help out her parents. However, rather than babysitting Joeychev’s aunt locked her in a room and taught her how to do ‘shows’ for clients in front of the computer. Joeychev was forced to work twelve hours a day with no breaks. Under constant surveillance she was made to perform for clients across the world from the Philippines, Holland and the US. After months of sexual exploitation, Joeychev was finally rescued after a police raid shut down her aunt’s cybersex operation.
Mexico has one of the largest child labour forces in Latin America with 3.6 million children between the ages of 5 and 17 currently employed in some way. This has made children one of the most vulnerable groups of people subjected to labour exploitation in the country. 42.5 percent of children working in Mexico do not receive any income for their labour. The current prevalence of poverty in the country has meant that many families require children to contribute to the household income in order to survive. Moreover Mexico is home to thousands of street children who constitute a particularly vulnerable group often subjected to forced labour and sexual exploitation. Jose was just 7 years old when he ran away from a neglectful home environment and began living on the streets of Mexico. One day he was approached by a boy who offered him a place to stay. When he arrived at the house he was told that he would have to work to earn his keep. Jose was exploited for his labour, became addicted to drugs and was recruited by a gang who made him sell in exchange for feeding his addiction. Jose was rescued by a woman from an NGO and is now an ‘older brother’ in the organisation, working to help children like himself.
Sex trafficking remains prevalent in Mexico with the city of Tenancingo, Tlaxcala being dubbed the sex trafficking capital of the world. Women and young girls are often manipulated into 'love relationships' with local men who earn their trust and then trap them into forced prostitution. NGOs have revealed that the commercial sexual exploitation of Mexican girls occurs on a daily basis. Marcela tells of how she was tricked into one of these ‘love relationships’ at 13 years old after being approached by a man at a bus stop. She describes how after moving in with him he sent her to meet a girl at a ‘hotel’ and was taught how to provide sex work. Though she had heard stories of girls being killed, after a couple of years Marcela was able to escape and accuse the trafficker who had tricked her into prostitution.
Mexico has one of the largest child labour forces in Latin America with 3.6 million children between the ages of 5 and 17 currently employed in some way. This has made children one of the most vulnerable groups of people subjected to labour exploitation in the country. 42.5 percent of children working in Mexico do not receive any income for their labour. The current prevalence of poverty in the country has meant that many families require children to contribute to the household income in order to survive. Moreover Mexico is home to thousands of street children who constitute a particularly vulnerable group often subjected to forced labour and sexual exploitation. Maria was taken by her aunt to a family for whom she was to provide domestic work. Though initially treated well, Maria was soon forced to work long hours, providing the family with anything they needed and cleaning up after them. Maria was also required to sell firecrackers at the local market, subjected to physical abuse if she did not manage to sell them. Eventually Maria was able to escape after telling a woman at the market that she needed help and calling the police.
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.
Egypt is a source, transit and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labour and sexual exploitation. Egyptian children are recruited for domestic and agricultural labour with some of these children facing conditions indicative of involuntary servitude such as restrictions on movement, non-payment of wages, threats and physical or sexual abuse. Families in remote villages across Africa send their children to work in cities for extra money, a custom that has led to the spread of trafficking as wealthy Africans accustomed to employing children immigrate to the US. It is estimated that 10 000 forced labourers in the US are trapped in domestic servitude. Shyima was just 8 years old when her family sold her into slavery to settle a debt. She was then smuggled into the US and held as a domestic slave in California. She was denied medical care, proper nutrition, an education, and her childhood
The United Kingdom remains a significant destination for men, women and children trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labour. The latest government statistics derived from the UK National Referral Mechanism in 2014 reveal 2,340 potential victims of trafficking from 96 countries of origin, of whom 61 percent were female and 29 percent were children. At least one child a day is trafficked into Britain according the to the Human Trafficking Foundation, with children forced to work in the sex industry, domestic service, cannabis cultivation or as criminal on the streets. Child victims of human trafficking primarily originate from Romania, Vietnam, Nigeria, and from within the UK itself. Cristina was 16 when her mother forced her to sleep with men to pay rent for their home in Romania. She was then taken to the UK for babysitting work, however upon arrival she was forced to provide sexual services at a ‘spa’ for over a year. It was not until she was picked up by police officers that she was able to escape.
Afghanistan is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor 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 labour, particularly in Pakistan’s carpet factories, and forced marriage. Aziz began weaving carpets in his home at the age of 6 years old. He and his 11 siblings are the breadwinners of their family and though they go to school, they must work before and after, and work full days during the winter holidays. Aziz has been injured several times and has developed a chronic cough due to his work.
At least one child a day is trafficked into Britain according the to the Human Trafficking Foundation, with children forced to work in the sex industry, domestic service, cannabis cultivation or as criminal on the streets. Child victims of human trafficking primarily originate from Romania, Vietnam, Nigeria, and from within the UK itself. UK children continue to be subjected to sex trafficking within the country. Children in the care system and unaccompanied migrant children are particularly vulnerable to trafficking. Jenny was 13 when her 70-year-old neighbour Keith began giving her lifts to school and buying her gifts. After a while Keith began to demand Jenny repay him for her generosity, forcing her to have sex with him. As months passed Keith began inviting other men to the house and forcing Jenny to have sex with them to pay off his debts. At the age of 17 Jenny left home and found a place at a women’s refuge, it was the first of many attempts to get help and escape, but had developed an addiction to drugs. She kept going back as she felt that is all she was worth. One day the police put her in touch with Victim Support who referred Jenny to the Salvation Army who took her to a safe house.
The UK National Crime Agency estimates 3,309 potential victims of human trafficking came into contact with the State or an NGO in 2014. The latest government statistics derived from the UK National Referral Mechanism in 2014 reveal 2,340 potential victims of trafficking from 96 countries of origin, of whom 61 percent were female and 29 percent were children. Of those identified through the NRM, the majority were adults classified as victims of sexual exploitation followed by adults exploited in the domestic service sector and other types of labour exploitation. The largest proportion of victims was from Albania, followed by Nigeria, Vietnam, Romania and Slovakia. This survivor of modern slavery tells the Salvation Army of how she travelled from Sierra Leone to the UK after being promised a better education. Instead, she was trafficked into domestic servitude. This survivor was made to do all the housework, denied any privacy and never received any wages for her work. It was only when one of her employer’s children’s teachers called the police that this survivor was able to escape.
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. Linda travelled from Ecuador to the United States after she was given the opportunity to stay with her step-sister, work and go to school. However, upon arrival, Linda was forced to do all the house work, cleaning, cooking and looking after her step-sisters’ baby. Linda received no pay for her work, was kept in the home 24 hours a day under constant surveillance and never ended up going to school.
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. Suamhirs was trafficked from Honduras to the United States by his Godmother, who threatened to kill his family if he did not do what she told him. Suamhirs was finally rescued when a neighbour reported the large number of people coming and going from the house to the police. In this narrative Suamhirs talks of facing his trafficker in the court and the continuous nature of rehabilitation.