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Voices.pdf

Voices

In 2019, the Rights Lab at the University of Nottingham launched a new collection of survivor testimony, named Voices: Narratives by Survivors of Modern Slavery. The work to gather these narratives was supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Antislavery Usable Past project and the AHRC/Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Antislavery Knowledge Network project. Representing 900+ survivor voices from around the world and continuing to grow, the database is publicly available for use by the global community that is working towards Target 8.7 of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): to end modern slavery by 2030. The purpose of this report is to suggest a guide for how to use this groundbreaking collection of survivor testimony for antislavery work. The report is split into three sections. The first covers the database itself; the second relies on testimony from survivors in Sub-Saharan Africa, Cambodia, Pakistan and North Korea to show how survivor testimony can help to answer questions about slavery definitions, causes, interventions and aftermath; and the third section is a case study about forced marriage, highlighting how survivor narratives can shape our understanding of the practice. In selecting sample narratives, we focused on countries that, according to the Walk Free Foundation’s Global Slavery Index, have the top 10 highest prevalence rates of slavery (including North Korea, Pakistan, Cambodia, Eritrea, the Central African Republic, South Sudan and Burundi). Rights Lab Research Fellow Hannah-Rose Murray authored this report for the Antislavery Usable Past and Antislavery Knowledge Network teams, with input from Vicky Brotherton and Zoe Trodd. To view the Voices narratives, visit: www.antislavery.ac.uk/narratives

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Babu Shah

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.

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Mangadeen

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.

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Kasuma

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.

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Yashodha

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.

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Ramita T.

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. 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. Ramita T., age 19, had a love marriage at age 12 to a 15-year-old boy.

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Babita Tharu

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. 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. Babita Tharu was married at age 11 to a man about 8 years older than her.

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Melissa

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.

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Samjhana

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.

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Samina

It is estimated that over 3 million people are living in conditions of modern slavery in Pakistan (GSI 2018). Children are subjected to modern slavery in the form of forced marriage. It is estimated that 21% of girls in Pakistan are married before the age of 18. Child marriage in the country is connected with tradition, culture and custom. It occasionally involves the transfer of money, settlement of debts or exchange of daughters sanctioned by a Jirga or Panchayat.

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Gulnaz

There are an estimated 24,000 people living in modern slavery in Kyrgyzstan and 5,000 in Cyprus (GSI 2018). Kyrgyzstan remains a source, transit and destination country for men, women and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking. Women from across the former Soviet Republic often travel to neighbouring countries with the promise of jobs as nannies, domestic workers, work in hotels and in the catering and entertainment sectors. However, upon arrival they find themselves sold to a pimp and forced in to sex work to pay off debt incurred for transportation, accommodation and the opportunity. Gulnaz* found a job at a nightclub in Cyprus through a Russian social network site. When she arrived, the club’s owner took her documents and phone, threatened her and beat her. 

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Salima

There are an estimated 24,000 people living in modern slavery in Kyrgyzstan and 509,000 in Turkey (GSI 2018). Kyrgyzstan remains a source, transit and destination country for men, women and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking. Women from across the former Soviet Republic often travel to neighbouring countries with the promise of jobs as nannies, domestic workers, work in hotels and in the catering and entertainment sectors. However, upon arrival they find themselves sold to a pimp and forced in to sex work to pay off debt incurred for transportation, accommodation and the opportunity. Salima* was trafficked from Kyrgyzstan to Turkey to work as a sex worker.

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Laurence

There are an estimated 136,000 people living on conditions of modern slavery in 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.

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John

There are an estimated 136,000 people living on conditions of modern slavery in 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.  In his early twenties, John was seriously assaulted as he walked home to his family. He suffered life threatening injuries which meant he could no longer work to support his family.

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Nabena

There an estimated 131,000 people living in modern slavery in Malawi (GSI 2018). According to Girls Not Brides, one out of every two girls in Malawi will be married by her eighteenth birthday.

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Ndaziona

There an estimated 131,000 people living in modern slavery in Malawi (GSI 2018). According to Girls Not Brides, one out of every two girls in Malawi will be married by her eighteenth birthday.

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Elina

There an estimated 131,000 people living in modern slavery in Malawi (GSI 2018). According to Girls Not Brides, one out of every two girls in Malawi will be married by her eighteenth birthday.

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Reena

India has a population of more than 1.3 billion people, there are still at least 270 million people living on less than US$1.90 per day. While laws, systems and attitudes regarding key 'fault lines' such as the caste system, gender and feudalism are rapidly changing, social change of this depth and scale necessarily takes time. In this context, it is perhaps unsurprising that existing research suggests that all forms of modern slavery continue to exist in India, including intergenerational bonded labour, forced child labour, commercial sexual exploitation, forced begging, forced recruitment into nonstate armed groups and forced marriage. According to Girls Not Brides, more than one third of young brides live in India. In the states of Jharkhand and Bihar, 50-60% of girls are married before they turn 18.

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Peres

There are an estimated 328,000 people living in conditions of slavery in Kenya (GSI 2018). Men, women and children are subjected to exploitation amounting to modern slavery in forced labour and sex trafficking. Children are often subjected to forced labour in domestic service, agriculture, fishing, cattle herding, street vending and begging. They are also victims of commercial sexual exploitation throughout the country, in khat cultivation areas, near gold mines and along the highway and Lake Victoria. Moreover, those residing in Kenya's largest refugee camp Dadaab are often vulnerable. Men and women are often lured by employment agencies offering attractive job opportunities, then find themselves trapped in domestic servitude, massage parlors and brothels or forced manual labour.

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Melka

There are an estimated 614,000 people living in modern slavery in Ethiopia. Girls from Ethiopia’s impoverished rural areas are exploited in domestic servitude and commercial sex within the country, while boys are subjected to forced labour in traditional weaving, construction, agriculture, and street vending. Addis Ababa’s central market is the site of numerous brothels, where some young girls are exploited in commercial sex. Ethiopian girls are exploited in domestic servitude and commercial sex in neighbouring African countries, particularly Djibouti and Sudan. According to a 2017 report by UNICEF, 40% of girls are married by the time they turn 18. They found that Ethiopia has the 15th highest prevalence rate of child marriage in the world and the fifth highest absolute number of child brides – 2,104,000.