The Global Slavery Index 2018 estimates that on any given day in 2016, an estimated 3.6 million men, women and chidlren were living in modern slavery in Europe and Central Asia (GSI 2018). People are subjected to exploitation in forced labour, debt bondage and forced sexual exploitation. Government response in Europe is particularly strong with a number of regional bodies holding them account and monitoring responses, and while countries in Central Asia have taken steps to tack modern slavery, more needs to be done. First trafficked at the age of five with her parents out of Vietnam into China, she and her family were promised a better life. At the age of 15, Thanh had to sleep with so many men it left her with permanent damage to her spine. She was trafficked to Russia to pick fruit, across a continent to France for sex work in a forest encampment: separated from her 11-year-old son and thrown into a refrigerated lorry to be smuggled to England. In London, she was taken to a basement for sex work and labour packing vegetables. One day she seized an opportunity to flee barefoot. Undocumented, Thanh was afraid to go to the police and only received help after a lump in her breast made her go to a doctor. Eventually she was recognised as a victim of modern slavery and with the help of the British Red Cross was reunited with her son.
There are an estimated 12,000 people living in modern slavery in Taiwan (GSI 2018). human traffickers subject foreign men and women to forced labor and sex trafficking in Taiwan, and traffickers subject local men and women to forced labor and local women and children to sex trafficking. Taiwan women and children are subjected to domestic sex trafficking, including as part of an increasing trend in which traffickers induce and exploit Taiwan and foreign women’s and children’s drug addictions. Taiwan traffickers increasingly use the internet, smartphone apps, livestreaming, and other such online technologies to conduct recruitment activities, often targeting child victims, and to mask their identities from law enforcement. Traffickers lure women from China and Southeast Asian countries to Taiwan through fraudulent marriages and deceptive employment offers for purposes of sex trafficking. Many trafficking victims are migrant workers from Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and, to a lesser extent, individuals from China, Cambodia, and Sri Lanka. Taiwan is host to more than 700,000 foreign workers, most of whom are hired in their home countries through recruitment agencies and brokers—including some from Taiwan—to perform low-skilled work as home caregivers and domestic workers, or in farming, manufacturing, meat processing, construction, and fishing A-Ching travelled abroad to Taiwan for work as a cleaner. However, upon arrival she found she would be working instead at a karaoke bar and told that she owed her brokers money for taking her to Taiwan. A-Ching was sexually harassed and had her movement restricted.
There are an estimated 17,000 people living in modern slavery in Jordan (GSI 2018). Jordan is a source, transit and destination country for adults and children subjected to forced labour, domestic servitude and sex trafficking. People are trafficked primarily from South and Southeast Asia, East Africa, Egypt and Syria. Forced labour victims experience withheld or non-payment wages, confiscation of identity documents, restricted freedom of movement, unsafe living conditions, long hours without rest, isolation, and verbal and physical abuse. Jordan relies on foreign migrant workers – many of whom are undocumented – in several sectors, including construction, agriculture, textiles, and domestic work. Phuong-Anh Vu paid a large sum of money to participate in the labour export program in 2008. She was transferred to Jordan to work in a sewing factory. Upon arrival Phuong-Anh discovered that she was to work long hours for very little pay. When she and others went on strike, her employers restricted her food and water and subjected all strikers to severe beatings. Phuong-Ang was taken to Thailand by the Vietnamese government after contacting a newspaper about her working conditions.
There are an estimated 421,000 people living in modern slavery in Vietnam (GSI 2018). Many children from impoverished rural areas, and a rising number from middle class and urban settings, are subjected to sex trafficking. Girls from ethnic minority communities in the northwest highlands are increasingly subjected to forced services, including sex slavery and domestic servitude, by traffickers channeling their criminal activities through the traditional practice of bride kidnapping. Child sex tourists, reportedly from elsewhere in Asia, the United Kingdom and other countries in Europe, Australia, Canada, and the United States, exploit children in Vietnam. 12-year-old May, a member of the Hmong ethnic group from northern Vietnam’s mountainous Ha Giang province, was a victim of of ‘hai pu’ (literally “pull wife”) or bride kidnapping. Although illegal in Vietnam, bride kidnapping is regularly practised in Hmong communities. May’s new husband, Pao, the boy who kidnapped her, is also 12 years old and works across the border in China as a labourer. May did not know him before the kidnapping.
There are an estimated 136,000 people living on conditions of modern slavery un the United Kingdom (Global Slavery Index 2018). According to the 2017 annual figures provided by the National Crime Agency, 5, 145 potential victims of modern slavery were referred through the National Referral Mechanism in 2017, of whom 2,454 were female, 2688 were male and 3 were transgender, with 41% of all referrals being children at the time of exploitation. People are subjected to slavery in the UK in the form of domestic servitude, labour exploitation, organ harvesting and sexual exploitation, with the largest number of potential victims originating from Albania, China, Vietnam and Nigeria. This data however does not consider the unknown numbers of victims that are not reported. Dinh was an orphan and homeless in Vietnam after his parents died in a mining accident. Living on the streets and shining shoes, one day one of Dinh’s customers said she could help him get work in the UK. However, upon arrival he was taken by two men and forced to cook and clean for his traffickers for 5 years. Subjected to physical violence and threats, Dinh was also forced to cultivate cannabis plants and was arrested by the police, spending 7 months in prison before he was found not guilty and taken to Hestia.
There are an estimated 136,000 people living on conditions of modern slavery un the United Kingdom (Global Slavery Index 2018). According to the 2017 annual figures provided by the National Crime Agency, 5, 145 potential victims of modern slavery were referred through the National Referral Mechanism in 2017, of whom 2,454 were female, 2688 were male and 3 were transgender, with 41% of all referrals being children at the time of exploitation. People are subjected to slavery in the UK in the form of domestic servitude, labour exploitation, organ harvesting and sexual exploitation, with the largest number of potential victims originating from Albania, China, Vietnam and Nigeria. This data however does not consider the unknown numbers of victims that are not reported. Lam was working to support his family after his father’s death when he heard he could earn more money overseas. Agents arranged for Lam to travel to the UK. Upon arrival he was taken to a house full of plants and told it was his job to look after them. His movement restricted and forced to sleep on the floor, Lam was threatened with violence and death if he tried to leave. After five weeks the house was raided by police and Lam was arrested. With the help of the NSPCC Child Trafficking Advice Centre, Lam was able to leave the young offenders institute and was placed in to foster care.
The Global Slavery Index 2018 estimates that on any given day in 2016 there were over 3.8 million people living in conditions of modern slavery in China. Included in the types of slavery prevalent in China is forced labour, with China's unprecedented rise to the world's second largest economy and its domestic economy specialising in the production of labour-intensive, cheap goods for export, increasing the demand for cheap labour. Forced labour occurs in both the manufacturing and construction sectors, as well as more informal industries such as brick kilns and garment facoties. Many women are also tricked in to forced labour as domestic servants, lured by the promise of good jobs with high incomes they instead find themselves confined to the house and forced to work long hours with little or no pay.Duyan was told she would just be visiting China when she was sold to a Chinese family to be their made. Duyan was finally able to escape and reported her trafficker to the police.
Despite having the lowest regional prevalence of modern slavery in the world, Europe remains a destination, and to a lesser extent, a source region for the exploitation of men, women and children in forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation. Trafficking for sexual exploitation is the most widespread for of modern slavery with an 84% of victims trafficked for this purpose. The majority of those trafficked for this purpose are women and young girls who often originate from Eastern Europe within the EU as well as Sub-Saharan Africa, with the majority of people being trafficked from Nigeria to various parts of Europe including Italy, France, Spain and the UK through an array of complex trafficking networks. Kim Anh faced a bad harvest in her hometown of Nghe An in northern Vietnam. With a family to feed and few prospects for work, she decided to borrow money to go overseas. She had been told by a local man affiliated with a Christian group that she could relocate to any country in Europe for U.S. $14,000. After securing the loans, she paid her fee and began an anxious period of waiting. When the time came for her departure, she felt nervous but knew that her success could secure a happy future for her family. However, instead of securing a future for her family, Kim Anh she was trafficked through Europe and subjected to physical and sexual abuse daily.
China remains a source, transit and destination country for the sexual exploitation of women and children. Women are lured through false promises of legitimate employment and trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation from countries such as Mongolia, Burma, North Korea, Russia, Vietnam, Romania and Ghana. Moreover, the Chinese government’s birth limitation policy and a cultural preference for sons created a skewed sex ratio of 117 boys to 100 girls in China, which observers assert increases the demand for prostitution and for foreign women as brides for Chinese men—both of which may be procured by force or coercion. Women and girls are kidnapped or recruited through marriage brokers and transported to China, where some are subjected to commercial sex or forced labour. Huong was 19 when her Aunt's boyfriend trafficked her, drugging her drink and selling her to a brothel in China. Subjected to physical and sexual abuse daily, Huong and another girl being held were able to escape with the help of Vietnamese man who drove them to the Vietnam-China border.
The internal migration of Chinese people seeking work has created an opportunity for human traffickers in China. Moreover the gender imbalance caused by the One Child Policy and the cultural preference for male children, has caused a shortage of women which has led to the trafficking of women to be sold as brides. As a result many women find themselves either deceived by promises of employment, sold or abducted and forced into marrying Chinese men who have paid for them. The prevalence of poverty in China makes the poor more vulnerable to enslavement. With the National Bureau of Statistics estimating that 70,170,000 are still living in poverty, people are more desperate and thus more likely to be receptive to fraudulent job offers. Mai, 16, was trafficked from Vietnam into China to be sold as a child bride.
China remains a source, transit and destination country for men, women and children subject to forced labour. There have been a number of media reports exposing cases of forced labour in the country, especially among the disabled whose families are unable to care for them and with an underdeveloped government support system leaving them vulnerable. The disparity of work opportunities between rural and urban populations has created a high migrant population vulnerable to human trafficking. The lure of a higher income leads many migrant workers to accept jobs in China without knowing exactly what they entail. Trong went to China from Vietnam after his aunt told him he could get housework near the border. He was told he would work for a couple of months and then return home. However upon arrival he was told by other Vietnamese workers that he had been deceived. Trong had been enslaved into debt bondage in a brick kiln, forced to work to cover the costs of transportation and accommodation. Eventually Trong along with his friend Lin were able to escape.
China remains a source, transit and destination country for the sexual exploitation of women and children. Women are lured through false promises of legitimate employment and trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation from countries such as Mongolia, Burma, North Korea, Russia, Vietnam, Romania and Ghana. Thien was trafficked in to forced prostitution after a friend stole her bicycle and told her she would have to work to earn money to retrieve it. Thien was taken by boat from Vietnam to China where she was forced to work in multiple prostitution dens. Subjected to physical violence and food deprivation, Thien attempted to escape on numerous occasions. After a year she was finally able to escape when she stole a customer’s phone and wallet and ran to a nearby bus station.
China remains a source, transit and destination country for men, women and children subject to forced labour. There have been a number of media reports exposing cases of forced labour in the country, especially among the disabled whose families are unable to care for them and with an underdeveloped government support system leaving them vulnerable. The disparity of work opportunities between rural and urban populations has created a high migrant population vulnerable to human trafficking. The lure of a higher income leads many migrant workers to accept jobs in China without knowing exactly what they entail. Lin travelled to China with his friend Trong from Vietnam when he was told he could get housework near the border. He was told his travel expenses, food and accommodation would be taken care of and he would earn a good salary. However, upon arrival he found himself in debt bondage, forced to work long hours under the threat of violence in a brick kiln to pay off his incurred fees. Eventually Lin was able to escape along with his friend Trong, hiding out in a nearby forest to avoid discovery.
Cases of modern slavery have been uncovered in diverse sectors and locations of the United Kingdom—from Vietnamese children locked into Manchester flats to grow cannabis to Albanian women and girls sexually exploited in the London sex industry, and to the hundreds of men working low or semi-skilled jobs trapped in situations of debt bondage. The 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. Hung’s experience demonstrates various difficulties of being both a child survivor of slavery and an immigrant without legal status, especially those who do not speak the language of the destination country. In Hung’s case, his age could not be verified by authorities, and therefore he was not treated as a minor. Despite eventually being released from prison, he still has a criminal record.
Sina was born in Vietnam and enslaved in Cambodia, where she was forced into prostitution and drugged to become easier to control. Sina recalls that the Cambodian police, rather than help her home to Vietnam, took her to another brothel. At the time of narrating her story, she worked for the Somaly Mam Foundation as leader of its Voices for Change programme, and she reflects on both the satisfaction and difficulties of her work helping others escape their enslavement. Many Vietnamese women and children are misled by fraudulent employment opportunities and sold to brothel operators on the borders of China, Cambodia, and Laos, and elsewhere in Asia, including Thailand, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore. Some Vietnamese women who travel abroad for internationally brokered marriages or jobs in restaurants, massage parlors, and karaoke bars—mostly to China, Malaysia, and Singapore—are subjected to domestic servitude or forced prostitution.
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.