African woman described as a 'Witch at Euli, Ikelemba'. This image formed part of the Harris Lantern Slide Collection. Under King Leopold II the Congo Free State used mass forced labour to extract rubber from the jungle for the European market. As consumer demand grew King Leopold II's private army - the Force Publique - used violent means to coerce the population into meeting quotas, including murder, mutilation, rape, village burning, starvation and hostage taking. Alice Seeley Harris and her husband Reverend John H. Harris were missionaries in the Congo Free State from the late 1890s. Alice produced a collection of images documenting the horrific abuses of the African rubber labourers. Her photographs are considered to be an important development in the history of humanitarian campaigning. The images were used in a number of publications. The Harrises also used the photographs to develop the Congo Atrocity Lantern Lecture which toured Britain and the the USA raising awareness of the issue of colonial abuses under King Leopold II's regime. Source: Antislavery International.
There are an estimated 24,000 people living in modern slavery in Kyrgyzstan (GSI 2018). The country remains a source, transit and destination country for men, women and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking. Women in the country are often subject to kidnapping and forced marriage, known as Ala kachuu. The act was outlawed in the country in 2013 when authorities recognised it could lead to marital rape, domestic violence and psychological trauma. However, in some communities the practice remains common. Aisuluu experienced Ala kachuu (bride kidnapping) when she was seventeen years old. She was held in a house by her kidnappers for two months before she was forcibly married and experience violence for a further two years. Aisuluu tells of the difficulties of surviving bride kidnapping and being treated as a second-class citizen.