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Gun

It is estimated that 39,000 people are living in modern slavery in Japan (GSI 2018). The country is the destination for men, women and children trafficked for forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation. The majority of trafficking victims are foreign women who migrate willingly seeking work, but find themselves trapped in debt bondage, having to work in domestic and sex work to pay off fees incurred. Despite warning from the U.N., it is reported that human trafficking is on the rise in Japan. Gun was trafficked from Thailand to Japan and sold into sex slavery. In 1991, Gun and two Thai friends escaped from their captor by stabbing her to death. They fled with her bag, thinking that it contained their passports. But the bag contained seven million yen ($80,000) in cash. They were arrested in the same night. In 1994 the prosecutor charged them with premeditated murder and they received a life sentence. After international campaigns and petitions, their imprisonment was reduced and they were released in 1999.

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Janu

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.Janu was sent to an orphanage after her parents could no longer afford to look after her. At the orphanage Janu was forced to do all the housework, being subjected to beatings if she did not do the work properly.

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Jasmin A

There are an estimated 136,000 people living in conditions of modern slavey in the United Kingdom (GSI 2018). 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.The United Kingdom remains a significant destination for men, women and children trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labour. 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.   Jasmin was 13 years old when she was introduced to a man named Nav who was in his 20s. Jasmin began taking drugs and missing school to be with him. One day, Nav raped Jasmin and took photographs. For a year Jasmin was forced to sleep with men to pay off Nav’s debts.  

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Uday

The Global Slavery Index 2018 estimates that on any given day there were nearly 8 million people living in modern slavery in India. While the bonded labour system is formally abolished and criminalised, recent research indicated that bonded labour is still prevalent in India. A 2016 report found that in the state of Tamil Nadu, 351 of 743 spinning mills used bonded labour schemes, otherwise known as Sumangali schemes. Similarly in granite quarries, wage advances and loans with an interest ranging from 24% to 36% are used to bond workers. Situations of debt bondage are often aggravated by the need to raise emergency funds or take on loans for health crises.  Uday became a bonded labourer after taking up his father’s loan. Uday tells of the process of borrowing money from a landlord and of the caste dynamics between landlord and bonded labourer.

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Ram

The Global Slavery Index 2018 estimates that on any given day there were nearly 8 million people living in modern slavery in India. While the bonded labour system is formally abolished and criminalised, recent research indicated that bonded labour is still prevalent in India. A 2016 report found that in the state of Tamil Nadu, 351 of 743 spinning mills used bonded labour schemes, otherwise known as Sumangali schemes. Similarly in granite quarries, wage advances and loans with an interest ranging from 24% to 36% are used to bond workers. Situations of debt bondage are often aggravated by the need to raise emergency funds or take on loans for health crises.  Ram became a bonded labourer after taking out a loan of 30,000 rupees. Ram speaks of the caste system and how landlords do not want to abolish bonded labour, despite them paying their labourers less and less and giving out smaller loans. Ram has been able to pay off most of his debt and now works as a daily wageworker to pay off the rest.

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Obaid

The Global Slavery Index 2018 estimates that on any given day there were nearly 8 million people living in modern slavery in India. While the bonded labour system is formally abolished and criminalised, recent research indicated that bonded labour is still prevalent in India. A 2016 report found that in the state of Tamil Nadu, 351 of 743 spinning mills used bonded labour schemes, otherwise known as Sumangali schemes. Similarly in granite quarries, wage advances and loans with an interest ranging from 24% to 36% are used to bond workers. Situations of debt bondage are often aggravated by the need to raise emergency funds or take on loans for health crises.  Obaid has been in bonded labour for 25 years and discusses his relationship with his landlord. Obaid talks about being trapped in bonded labour, having to borrow money off other landlords to pay off the ones demanding their money back. He also speaks of his fear of his sons being unable to pay off their debt and his reservations about government schemes.

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Mahendra

The Global Slavery Index 2018 estimates that on any given day there were nearly 8 million people living in modern slavery in India. While the bonded labour system is formally abolished and criminalised, recent research indicated that bonded labour is still prevalent in India. A 2016 report found that in the state of Tamil Nadu, 351 of 743 spinning mills used bonded labour schemes, otherwise known as Sumangali schemes. Similarly in granite quarries, wage advances and loans with an interest ranging from 24% to 36% are used to bond workers. Situations of debt bondage are often aggravated by the need to raise emergency funds or take on loans for health crises.  Mahendra has been working as a bonded labourer in Uttar Pradesh for years, having borrowed money first to support his family, and again when his son needed a heart operation. Here, Mahendra suggests that bonded labour is often better than daily wagework and that government schemes are ineffective.

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Lal

The Global Slavery Index 2018 estimates that on any given day there were nearly 8 million people living in modern slavery in India. While the bonded labour system is formally abolished and criminalised, recent research indicated that bonded labour is still prevalent in India. A 2016 report found that in the state of Tamil Nadu, 351 of 743 spinning mills used bonded labour schemes, otherwise known as Sumangali schemes. Similarly in granite quarries, wage advances and loans with an interest ranging from 24% to 36% are used to bond workers. Situations of debt bondage are often aggravated by the need to raise emergency funds or take on loans for health crises.  Lal was forced to take over his father’s debt after he became too sick to work. Lal talks of having to work as both a bonded labourer to pay off his father’s debt while also taking daily wage work to support his family.

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Irfan

The Global Slavery Index 2018 estimates that on any given day there were nearly 8 million people living in modern slavery in India. While the bonded labour system is formally abolished and criminalised, recent research indicated that bonded labour is still prevalent in India. A 2016 report found that in the state of Tamil Nadu, 351 of 743 spinning mills used bonded labour schemes, otherwise known as Sumangali schemes. Similarly in granite quarries, wage advances and loans with an interest ranging from 24% to 36% are used to bond workers. Situations of debt bondage are often aggravated by the need to raise emergency funds or take on loans for health crises.  Irfan became a bonded labourer when he borrowed money after becoming sick. It took him 20 years to pay of this debt, forcing him to borrow more to pay for food and his children’s schooling.

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Bhagwan

The Global Slavery Index 2018 estimates that on any given day there were nearly 8 million people living in modern slavery in India. While the bonded labour system is formally abolished and criminalised, recent research indicated that bonded labour is still prevalent in India. A 2016 report found that in the state of Tamil Nadu, 351 of 743 spinning mills used bonded labour schemes, otherwise known as Sumangali schemes. Similarly in granite quarries, wage advances and loans with an interest ranging from 24% to 36% are used to bond workers. Situations of debt bondage are often aggravated by the need to raise emergency funds or take on loans for health crises.  Bhagwan worked as a bonded labourer in Uttar Pradesh for eight years. Paying off debt he borrowed for his marriage, Bhagwan often went unpaid for his labour and was forced to work extra time to support his family. Bhagwan was finally able to leave his situation with the help of charitable organisation JEEVIKA.

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Lam

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.

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MP

There are an estimated 31,000 people living in condition of modern slavery in Israel (GSI 2018). Women from Eastern Europe, China and Ghana, as well as Eritream men and women are subjected to sex trafficking in Israel. People are often lured through the promise of seemingly legitimate jobs, only to be subjected to commercial sexual exploitation upon arrival.  MP was trafficked into prostitution in Israel. Her traffickers informed her that she had incurred a great debt that would have to be repaid by providing sexual services.

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Vajja Anitha

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.  Vajja Anitha’s father died when she was 7 years old, having accumulated a lot of debt to pay for his treatment, Anthia’s family fixed marriages for her and her sisters at young ages and against their wishes. Here Anitha tells of her own and her sisters’ experiences of child marriage in India. 

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The Khans

The Global Slavery Index 2018 estimates than there are 749,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Afghanistan. Within the country men, women and children are exploited in bonded labour, where an initial debt assumed by a worker as part of the terms of employment is exploited, ultimately entrapping other family members and sometimes for multiple generations. Some entire Afghan families are trapped in debt bondage in the brick-making industry in the Easter part of the country.  Zabit Khan and his family were living as refugees in Pakistan when he became ill and borrowed several thousand dollars from a kiln owner to cover his medical costs. He began working at the kiln but was not earning enough to pay off the debt. As his family grew, Hun had to borrow more for food, medicine and other basic needs for his children. Seven years later an Afghan kiln owner bought the Huns’ debt and they began working for him back in Afghanistan. Khan, his wife and his 9 young children would spend 12 hours a day squatting in the dirt making line after line of clay bricks.  

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Ko Wunna

Foreign workers constitute more than 20 percent of the Malaysian workforce and typically migrate voluntarily—often illegally—to Malaysia from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Burma, Indonesia, the Philippines, and other Southeast Asian countries, mostly in pursuit of better economic opportunities. Some of these migrants are subjected to forced labour or debt bondage by their employers, employment agents, or informal labour recruiters when they are unable to pay the fees for recruitment and associated travel. Ko Wunna is a 28-year-old resident of Burma's former capital, Rangoon, who was trafficked to Malaysia by gangs importing illegal workers in a constantly revolving racket in which, former participants say, the Malaysian police are also complicit.  Here, Ko Wunna about his experiences over three months working for a trafficking gang in the region in and around northern Malaysia's Kedah province, which borders Songkhla and Yala provinces in Thailand. He reveals that illegal migrants who don't come under the aegis of one gang are vulnerable to worse exploitation by others.

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Lina

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. 17 year old Lina was recruited to China by her cousin who approached her parents, telling them Lina could earn more money abroad. However, upon arrival she was taken to the Bride Market and placed in a home where men would come to choose wives. When she pleaded with her cousin to go home, she was told she owed $2000.

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Lea

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 survivors of human trafficking.    Lea, now 26 and a native of Nafai village in Savannakhet province’s Kaisone district, was first sold as a teen to work in Thailand on a rubber plantation by a neighbour. After four months working to pay off their 'debt' to their employer, Lea escaped the plantation. At 15 years old, alone and with no money, he made his way to Bangkok where a taxi driver told him her could earn good money working on a fishing boat. Lea was locked in a house for 3 days before being taken on to the fishing boat where he would work long hours with little rest for 3 years without pay. Lea was finally able to escape, hiding in a forest after being taken ashore. Lea now works as a labourer on construction sites on and in other jobs on Tuan Island as he waits to go home. 

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Xuan

Malaysia is a destination and, to a much lesser extent, source and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labour and women and children subjected to sex trafficking. The overwhelming majority of trafficking victims are among the estimated two million documented and an even greater number of undocumented migrant laborers in Malaysia. Foreign workers constitute more than 20 percent of the Malaysian workforce and typically migrate voluntarily—often illegally—to Malaysia from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Burma, Indonesia, the Philippines, and other Southeast Asian countries, mostly in pursuit of better economic opportunities. Some of these migrants are subjected to forced labour or debt bondage by their employers, employment agents, or informal labour recruiters when they are unable to pay the fees for recruitment and associated travel.    Xuan had fallen in to debt when he cousin told her she could get her a job in the country as a masseuse. However, upon arrival Xuan was forced to do sex work to pay off debts incurred from air fares and travel expenses. After getting a phone call informing her that he child was ill Xuan escaped, jumping from the third floor of the building where she was being kept.  

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Naganna

While bonded labour has been outlawed for decades, survey data and pre-existing research confirms that this practice still persists. Bonded labour is not only illegal, research confirms that it has serious negative health impacts for those affected, who typically work in unsanitary and dangerous working conditions with no access to health care. Naganna was 10 years old when he started working as a bonded labourer, inheriting his grandfather’s debt. Naganna was forced to work long hours without rest and subjected to physical violence. It was with the help of Jeevika charity that Naganna was able to escape his situation and is now working with the charity.

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Marcela Loaiza

It is estimated that 290,200 people are living in modern slavery in Japan. The country is the destination for men, women and children trafficked for forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation. The majority of trafficking victims are foreign women who migrate willingly seeking work, but find themselves trapped in debt bondage, having to work in domestic and sex work to pay off fees incurred. Despite warning from the U.N., it is reported that human trafficking is on the rise in Japan.  Marcela couldn’t afford to pay her daughter's hospital bills when she rang an agent who had recently offered her a job as a professional dancer abroad. The agent paid off the hospital bills and arranged for Marcela to travel to Tokyo. However, upon arrival Marcela was told that she would have to work providing sexual services to men in order to pay off the debt incurred from her travel costs. After 18 months, Marcela was assisted by one of her clients and was able to escape, making her way to the Colombian embassy in Japan and eventually back home to her daughter.