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Soneeya

There are an estimated 171,000 people living in modern slavery in Nepal. Internal trafficking is significant in Nepal. Girls are trafficked internally for forced labour, sexual exploitation and forced marriage. A significant number of girls are estimated to be trafficked for sexual exploitation in Kathmandu’s entertainment sector and across the open border with India to Mumbai and other urban centres. Recent research in Kathmandu found that between 40 and 60 per cent of the females interviewed in entertainment sector workplaces (massage parlours, dance bars and cabin restaurants) were under the age of 19. Poverty is a significant driving factor for the exploitation and forced marriage of young girls in the country as although levels are declining, an estimated 10 million people live on incomes between USD1.90 and USD3.20 a day. When Soneeya was 15 years old, she was forced to marry a man 13 years older. She was subjected to physical and sexual abuse daily.

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Pasi

There are an estimated 403,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in the United States (GSI 2018). 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.  Pasi was brought from Indonesia to the USA with her niece for domestic work by a family who promised to pay her $150 a month. Pasi never received this money and was forced to work for long hours with no pay for two and a half years. Eventually Pasi went to the police who took her away from her traffickers, but with no shelter for trafficked people available Pasi was forced to spend the night in prison. The next day a case manager from California Against Slavery and Human Trafficking came to pick her up and took Pasi to a shelter.

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Ghali

There are an estimated 133,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Niger (GSI 2018). Niger is a source, transit and destination country for men, women and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking. Traditional slavery practices perpetuated by politically powerful tribal leaders continue primarily in the northern part of the country. Nigerien boys are subjected to forced labour, including forced begging, within the country and in neighbouring countries, especially by corrupt marabouts. Loosely organized clandestine networks may also place Nigerien girls into domestic servitude. Nigerien children are subjected to forced labour in gold, salt, trona, and gypsum mines; agriculture; stone quarries; and manufacturing within the country. Ghali had been trapped in bonded labour since early childhood. He was forced to work long hours with little food, subjected to physical and mental violence. Ghali tells of his path out of slavery with the help of Anti-slavery partners Timidria.

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Chantin

There are an estimated 171,000 people living in modern slavery in Nepal. Internal trafficking is significant in Nepal. Girls are trafficked internally for forced labour, sexual exploitation and forced marriage. A significant number of girls are estimated to be trafficked for sexual exploitation in Kathmandu’s entertainment sector and across the open border with India to Mumbai and other urban centres. Recent research in Kathmandu found that between 40 and 60 per cent of the females interviewed in entertainment sector workplaces (massage parlours, dance bars and cabin restaurants) were under the age of 19. Poverty is a significant driving factor for the exploitation and forced marriage of young girls in the country as although levels are declining, an estimated 10 million people live on incomes between USD1.90 and USD3.20 a day. Chantin was forced to marry a man she did not know when she was 21 years old. Her husband and his family would beat her, restrict food and force her to work ‘like a servant’.

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Alisha A

There are an estimated 171,000 people living in modern slavery in Nepal. Within Nepal, bonded labour exists in agriculture, brick kilns, the stone-breaking industry, and domestic work. Sex trafficking of Nepali women and girls increasingly takes place in private apartments, rented rooms, guest houses, and restaurants. Nepali and Indian children are subjected to forced labor in the country, especially in domestic work, brick kilns, and the embroidered textile, or zari, industry. Under false promises of education and work opportunities, Nepali parents give their children to brokers who instead take them to frequently unregistered children’s homes in urban locations, where they are forced to pretend to be orphans to garner donations from tourists and volunteers; some of the children are also forced to beg on the street. Alisha hoped to continue her studies but her family’s financial needs led her to take a job as a domestic worker in Kathmandu. Alisha was forced to work long hours with no breaks, had her food and movement restricted and was subjected to physical abuse by her employer.

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Shin Don Hyuk

The Global Slavery Index 2018 estimates that there are 2,640,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea). Men, women and children are subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking. Government oppression in the DPRK prompts many North Koreans to flee the country in ways that make them vulnerable to human trafficking in destination countries. Many of the estimated 10 000 North Korean women and girls who have migrated illegally to China to flee abuse and human rights violation are particularly vulnerable to trafficking. Some lure, drug, detain or kidnap North Korean women on their arrival, others offer jobs but subsequently force the women into prostitution, domestic service, or forced marriage. If found, Chinese authorities often repatriate victims back to the DPRK where they are subjected to harsh punishment including forced labour in labour camps or death. Shin Don Hyuk was born in a political prison camp in North Korea. He recalls being under the constant supervision of armed guards who would tell him and the other children that they must work hard until they die to pay for the crimes of their parents. When he was 14 years old Shin Don Hyuk reported his parent’s plan to escape but instead of being rewarded was locked up and tortured alongside his family. He gives details of the torture he was subjected to and tells of the execution of his mother and brother. Shin Don Hyuk was able to escape and now tells of his experience to raise awareness of conditions in North Korean prison camps in the hopes of liberating the people kept there.

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Aamuktha

Within Nepal, bonded labour exists in agriculture, brick kilns, the stone-breaking industry, and domestic work. Sex trafficking of Nepali women and girls increasingly takes place in private apartments, rented rooms, guesthouses, and restaurants. Nepali and Indian children are subjected to forced labour in the country, especially in domestic work, brick kilns, and the embroidered textile, or zari, industry. Under false promises of education and work opportunities, Nepali parents give their children to brokers who instead take them to frequently unregistered children’s homes in urban locations, where they are forced to pretend to be orphans to garner donations from tourists and volunteers; some of the children are also forced to beg on the street. Aamuktha convinced her father to let her go to Kathmandu to get a job instead of being forced to marry at a young age. However, Aamuktha was convinced to start selling drugs and travelled to India with another young girl where she was sold to a brothel. Subjected to daily beatings and raped, Aamuktha was finally able to escape by feigning illness.

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Amirta

Lebanon is a destination for Asian and African women trafficked for the purpose of domestic servitude, and for women from Easter Europe for commercial sexual exploitation. There are estimated 200,000 migrant domestic workers in Lebanon and until 2012, Lebanon was the top country of destination for female migrant workers from Nepal.  Women who travel to Lebanon legally to work as household servants often find themselves in conditions of forced labour through the withholding of passports, non-payment of wages, restrictions on movement, threat and physical of sexual assault.   Amirta travelled from Nepal to Lebanon for domestic work. However, she was forced to work long hours for little pay and had her food and movement restricted. Amirta was subjected to threats and physical violence that saw her admitted to the hospital.

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A-Ching

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.

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Ashia C

There are an estimated 171,000 people living in modern slavery in Nepal (GSI 2018). Within Nepal, bonded labour exists in agriculture, brick kilns, the stone-breaking industry, and domestic work. Sex trafficking of Nepali women and girls increasingly takes place in private apartments, rented rooms, guest houses, and restaurants. Nepali and Indian children are subjected to forced labor in the country, especially in domestic work, brick kilns, and the embroidered textile, or zari, industry. Under false promises of education and work opportunities, Nepali parents give their children to brokers who instead take them to frequently unregistered children’s homes in urban locations, where they are forced to pretend to be orphans to garner donations from tourists and volunteers; some of the children are also forced to beg on the street. According to Human Rights Watch, thirty-seven percent of girls in Nepal marry before age 18 and 10 percent are married by age 15, in spite of the fact that the minimum age of marriage under Nepali law is 20 years of age. UNICEF data indicates that Nepal has the third highest rate of child marriage in Asia, after Bangladesh and India   Ashia C was forced to marry at an early age. Within the marriage she was subjected to physical violence.

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Medamani Nagamma

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. Medamani Nagamma was forced to marry at a young age. Within the marriage she was forced to do housework and raped by her husband. After a complicated pregnancy it was suggested that she undergo sterilisation.

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Adaku

There are an estimated 1,386,000 people living in modern slavery in Nigeria (GSI 2018). Since 2009, Nigeria’s homegrown Islamist insurgent movement, Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad, popularly known as Boko Haram, which means “Western Education is Forbidden,” has waged a violent campaign against the Nigerian government in its bid to impose Islamic law. The attacks have increasingly targeted civilians, mainly in the northeastern states of Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa. Borno State, the birthplace of Boko Haram, has suffered the highest number of attacks. A range of issues, including widespread poverty, corruption, security force abuse, and longstanding impunity for a range of crimes have created fertile ground in Nigeria for militant armed groups like Boko Haram. Adaku, A 20-year old woman was abducted in May 2013 when she ran into a roadblock mounted by insurgents at Firgi, near Bama.

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James Kofi Anan

There are an estimated 133,000 people living in modern slavery in Ghana (GSI 2018). Ghana remains a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. Ghanaian boys and girls are subjected to forced labor within the country in fishing, domestic service, street hawking, begging, portering, artisanal gold mining, quarrying, herding, and agriculture, including cocoa. Research focused on the fishing industry on Lake Volta indicated that more than half of the children working on and around the lake were born in other communities and many of these children are subjected to forced labor; not allowed to attend school; given inadequate housing and clothing; and are controlled by fishermen through intimidation, violence, and limiting access to food. Boys as young as five years old are forced to work in hazardous conditions, including deep diving, and many suffer waterborne infections. A study of the prevalence of child trafficking in selected communities in the Volta and Central Regions indicated that children from nearly one-third of the 1,621 households surveyed had been subjected to trafficking, primarily in fishing and domestic servitude.  James Kofi Anan tells of his own experience of child trafficking for fishing on Lake Volta, Ghana. He talks about how this representative of child trafficking in the area and how he thinks people can work towards the ending of human trafficking. Kofi Anan also provides details on his own anti-child trafficking organisation Challenging Heights.

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Saidu

There are an estimated 36,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Sierra Leone (GSI 2018). Sierra Leone is a source and destination country for men, women and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking. During the Sierra Leone Civil War 1991 to 2002 the Revolutionary United Front  (RUF) sought to mobilise a youth underclass to form a ‘people’s army’ to overthrow the Momoh regime. The RUF abducted and trained numbers of captured youth to fight as child soldiers in their guerrilla warfare.  Saidu emphasises the difficulties faced even by those not tainted with RUF violence in going back home. It is this wartime suspicion and hostility on the part of both civilians and military towards any dishevelled 'bush creature' that explains why the RUF/ SL strategy of abducting young Sierra Leoneans and turning them into combatants by force was so surprisingly effective. Once caught, most young people soon realised they had nowhere to run-that they risked death at the hands of government soldiers and civilians.

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Musa

There are an estimated 36,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Sierra Leone (GSI 2018). Sierra Leone is a source and destination country for men, women and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking. During the Sierra Leone Civil War 1991 to 2002 the Revolutionary United Front  (RUF) sought to mobilise a youth underclass to form a ‘people’s army’ to overthrow the Momoh regime. The RUF abducted and trained numbers of captured youth to fight as child soldiers in their guerrilla warfare.  Musa, now about 20, was captured and forcibly inducted by the RUF/SL in a raid into north-western Sierra Leone in January 1995. Although he completed guerrilla training and served on operations, he never gained any promotion in the movement, remaining ambivalent about the struggle. He is frank that his lack of conviction was more a question of the hardship than of any political objection. He found that the RUF's ideological teaching about the state of Sierra Leone made sense. When interviewed in October 1996 he had managed to escape four weeks previously, after nearly two years, and had been re-accepted in his home community, a town not badly affected by the war. Musa provides a remarkable account of RUF/SL aims and operations, and of life in one of the guerrilla camps. In some respects, the account supports the picture the movement paints in its own propaganda document (RUFSL, 1995). The Gurkhas referred to in the account were a mercenary force of ex-Gurkhas led by a Canadian Vietnam veteran [Colonel Robert Mackenzie] hired by the NPRC government. Mackenzie was killed, and the survivors were withdrawn shortly afterwards, to be replaced by the South African private security firm Executive Outcomes.]

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Gabriel

There are an estimated 36,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Sierra Leone (GSI 2018). Sierra Leone is a source and destination country for men, women and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking. During the Sierra Leone Civil War 1991 to 2002 the Revolutionary United Front  (RUF) sought to mobilise a youth underclass to form a ‘people’s army’ to overthrow the Momoh regime. The RUF abducted and trained numbers of captured youth to fight as child soldiers in their guerrilla warfare. Gabriel* was captured as a youth in a raid by the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in Sierra Leone. Gabriel tells of how he escaped from the militant forces after being held for a week.

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Mary B

There are an estimated 136,000 people living on conditions of modern slavery in the United Kingdom (GSI 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.  “Mary” came to the UK with an overseas domestic worker visa. Her passport was taken by her employer. She escaped after 12 weeks. By the time she entered the National Referral Mechanism (NRM)—the UK’s framework for identifying and referring potential victims of modern slavery and ensuring they receive the appropriate support—her visa had expired and she did not have the right to work. Domestic servitude accounted for 7% of the reported exploitation type of potential victims referred to the NRM in 2018, and 9% of the total potential victims indicated by contacts to the Modern Slavery Helpline in 2018. The narrative is from her oral evidence to the Home Affairs Committee’s Modern Slavery Inquiry on November 6, 2018, in a private closed-door session with three MPs. Her name has been changed and identifying details have been redacted, including her home country, the year she came to the UK, and the name of a charity.  

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Moceica B

There are an estimated 15,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Australia (GSI 2018). Australia is a destination country for women from Southeast Asia, South Korea, Taiwan, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and reportedly Eastern Europe trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Some men and women from several Pacific islands, India, the PRC, South Korea, the Philippines, and Ireland are fraudulently recruited to work temporarily in Australia, but subsequently are subjected to conditions of forced labor, including confiscation of travel documents, confinement, and threats of serious harm. Some indigenous teenage girls are subjected to forced prostitution at rural truck stops.   Moceica Turaga was trafficked from Fiji in 1988 at the age of 17 to work in the Australian horticultural sector. He had been promised the opportunity to continue his education and earn money to support his mother and siblings. After two years of agricultural work in Australia, he learned that none of his wages had been sent to his mother as promised. He was eventually employed by a farmer who helped him escape exploitation. He told his story for the first time in public at the Bali Process Government and Business Forum in August 2017, and then again to members of the Parliamentary committee exploring the establishment of a Modern Slavery Act in Australia in October 2017. This version of his narrative was delivered as a speech at the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney Anti-Slavery Task Force's Ethical Sourcing Seminar and Expo on February 8, 2019 at St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney. He lives today in Bundaberg, Australia, and works in the disability sector supporting children, youth and the elderly. He ran as an Independent candidate for the seat of Hinkler in the 2019 federal election.

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Moceica A

There are an estimated 15,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Australia (GSI 2018). Australia is a destination country for women from Southeast Asia, South Korea, Taiwan, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and reportedly Eastern Europe trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Some men and women from several Pacific islands, India, the PRC, South Korea, the Philippines, and Ireland are fraudulently recruited to work temporarily in Australia, but subsequently are subjected to conditions of forced labor, including confiscation of travel documents, confinement, and threats of serious harm. Some indigenous teenage girls are subjected to forced prostitution at rural truck stops.  Moceica Turaga was trafficked from Fiji in 1988 at the age of 17 to work in the Australian horticultural sector. He had been promised the opportunity to continue his education and earn money to support his mother and siblings. After two years of agricultural work in Australia, he learned that none of his wages had been sent to his mother as promised. He was eventually employed by a farmer who helped him escape exploitation. He told his story for the first time in public at the Bali Process Government and Business Forum in August 2017, and again at the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney Anti-Slavery Task Force's Ethical Sourcing Seminar and Expo in February 2019. This version of his narrative was delivered in October 2017 to members of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade during a hearing in Mildura, Australia, about the establishment of a Modern Slavery Act in Australia.  He lives today in Bundaberg, Australia, and works in the disability sector supporting children, youth and the elderly. He ran as an Independent candidate for the seat of Hinkler in the 2019 federal election.

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Wendy

There are an estimated 403,000 people living in modern slavery in the United States (GSI 2018). Sex trafficking exists throughout the country. Traffickers use violence, threats, lies, debt bondage and other forms of coercion to compel adults and children to engage in commercial sex acts against their will. The situations that sex trafficking victims face vary, many victims become romantically involved with someone who then forces them into prostitution. Others are lured with false promises of a job, and some are forced to sell sex by members of their own families. Victims of sex trafficking include both foreign nationals and US citizens, with women making up the majority of those trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. In 2015, the most reported venues/industries for sex trafficking included commercial-front brothels, hotel/motel-based trafficking, online advertisements with unknown locations, residential brothels, and street-based sex trafficking. Wendy Barnes was trafficked from the age of 15 across the US West Coast for nearly 15 years, from the mid 1980s until 2000. Her trafficker, Gregory Leon Hightower, was eventually arrested and sentenced to life in prison in Oregon. Wendy now lives in Southern California and works full time as a customer service representative. Her narrative is from an interview with Francine Sporenda for the Révolution Féministe website, originally published in French and then in English by Nordic Model Now!, a UK secular, feminist, grassroots women’s group campaigning for the abolition of prostitution and related practices. Wendy has published a book about her experiences titled And Life Continues: Sex Trafficking and My Journey to Freedom (2015).