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Maryfe

Today women represent around half of the total population of international migrants worldwide. They move, more and more, as independent workers, usually to more developed countries in search of a better life for themselves and for their families. Reproducing patterns of gender inequality, at destination they tend to find work in traditionally female-dominated occupations such as domestic work. Their vulnerabilities are often linked to precarious recruitment processes (including passport and contract substitution as well as charging of excessive fees), the absence of adapted assistance and protection mechanisms, the social and cultural isolation they can face at the destination due to language and cultural differences, lack of advance and accurate information on terms and conditions of employment, absence of labour law coverage and/or enforcement in the country of destination, and restrictions on freedom of movement and association, among other things. Maryfe migrated from the Philippines to Hong Kong in the hopes of earning more money abroad to support her children. Maryfe took a job caring for her employer’s disabled child and bedridden father. She was subjected to violence and threats daily and eventually broke her contract to return to the Philippines. However, still needing to provide for her children, Maryfe travelled abroad again, this time to Dubai, taking a job as a nanny. Maryfe was forced to work long hours with little sleep and no time off. When the family she worked for moved to a different country she was forced to go with them. Though Maryfe was able to escape her employment, she is now stuck undocumented in a foreign country.  

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Selvi

There are an estimated almost 8 million people living in modern slavery in India (GSI 2018). 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.    Selvi worked in a mill in Palladam and was not paid for her 18 months’ work. After she had to leave the mill due to ill-health she recollected her experience. 

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Kahlid

There are an estimated almost 8 million people living in modern slavery in India (GSI 2018). 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.    Kahlid, a 36 year old garment worker tells of how he is forced to work long hours for little pay in poor living conditions. He talks of the health problems he and other workers face in the garment factory. 

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Nanhe

There are an estimated almost 8 million people living in modern slavery in India (GSI 2018). 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.Nanhe was a teenager when he began working in a garment factory in Delhi to pay of his father’s debts. Nanhe is forced to stay in the factory for days at a time and tells of the health problems he and others suffer from working there.  

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Annis

There are an estimated almost 8 million people living in modern slavery in India (GSI 2018). 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.Annis was forced to go out to work after his father became sick and blind. He is forced to work long hours in a garment factory for little pay. Whatever he does earn, Annis sends back to his family. He tells of how he is forced to sleep where he works, live in unhygienic conditions and has his pay cut whenever he makes a mistake.  

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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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Sophia

There are an estimated 336,000 people living in modern slavery in Tanzania (GSI 2018). Internal trafficking is more prevalent than transnational trafficking and characteristically facilitated by victims’ family members, friends, or intermediaries offering assistance with education or securing employment in urban areas. Impoverished children from the rural interior remain most vulnerable to trafficking. Girls are exploited in domestic servitude throughout the country and in sex trafficking particularly in tourist hubs and along the border with Kenya. Sophia was 14 years old when she became a domestic worker. Forced to work long hours with no rest, Sophia was subjected to verbal abuse and her pay was withheld. One day Sophia was finally able to leave her situation and contacted Agape, an organisation supported by Anti-Slavery International. Sophia is now rebuilding her life.

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Setsofia Dowokpor

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.  Setsofia’s mother was suffering from ill health when she arranged for him to be trafficked to a fishing village along Lake Volta in a desperate bid to get month to treat her illness. Setsofia was just 8 years old, falsely promised an education and that he would only work part time. However he was forced to work day and night on dangerous fishing boats with little food or rest. International Needs Ghana, an FTS partner, visited Setsofia’s childhood village to talk about the need to keep children away from hazardous work and to urge slave owners to release their trafficked children. As a result of this outreach and pressure, his slave holder freed Setsofia August 12, 2016.

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Ramesh

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.    Ramesh took a loan to pay for his wife’s medical treatment. Upon their return from the hospital, Ramesh and his family were forced to work long hours in a brick kiln to pay off the money they had borrowed. Ramesh and his family were finally able to escape their situation with the help of Schools4Freedom.

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Megavath Rajeshwari

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.  Megavath Rajeshwari was forced to marry at the age of 13 to a 25-year-old man. Her husband works long hours and as a result Rajeshwari is often left alone in the house all day and must care for her child by herself.

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Ponnala Navya

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.  Ponnala Navya was forced to marry her cousin at 14 years old. After the wedding, Navya was raped by her husband and due to the pressure to conceive, attempted suicide. Though Navya managed to obtain a divorce, her mother was forced to pay a fine and resents her daughter. Navya suffers from ill-health, malnutrition and has carried out further suicide attempts.

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Roja

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.  Roja was forced to marry at the age of 15. She has no food and goes around the neighbourhood begging for rice, oil and some food. Neighbours felt sorry for her in the beginning and tried to give her some supplies but now they avoid her. She is going through immense anxiety and depression. Roja curses her parents for not listening to her and getting her married at such a young age. The community is working on her husband to abandon her and remarry since she miscarried four times. She feels that no other girl should face problems as she did.

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Mardannapalle Pallavi

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.  Pallavi was forced to marry at the age of 13, giving birth to a baby boy just a year later. After the birth of her son Pallavi worked long hours in the house and in the field, and was subjected to physical abuse by her husband. Pavalli now has 3 sons. Having had no health care through her pregnancies, she is weak, undernourished and depressed. She thinks only suicide will release her.

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Padmamma

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.  Padmamma’s marriage was fixed for her when she was 16 years old. Throughout the marriage Padmamma was subjected to attempts of coercion, hostility, lack of medical care and physical abuse by her husband and his family.

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Rajyamma

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.  After marriage, Rajyamma’s mother-in-law forced her to work long hours without rest while she was pregnant. After giving birth to a boy, Rajyamma returned to her in-law's house and continued to work, being forced to give all her earnings to her husband.

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Turalpati Lakshmi

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.  Turalpati Lakshmi was 12 years old when she was forced to marry a boy the same age. She is now pregnant and faces hunger and lack of health care.

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Pilli Lavanya

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.  Pilli Lavanya recounts how, despite her resistance, she faced tremendous pressure to marry before she had completed her education. Soon after her marriage, Lavanya tells how she was expected to work from 6am both in the home and fields, as well as having her eating habits regulated. When Lavanya became pregnant, she did not receive adequate healthcare and faced hostility from her husband and his family after giving birth to a girl.

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Kundamanchi Ramulamma

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.  Kundamanchi Ramulamma was 15 years old when she was married to a person from her caste. After the marriage, Kundamanchi Ramulamma was sexually abused by her father-in-law. He father went to the panchayat who eventually agreed to a divorce, however, a few month later, Kundamanchi Ramulamma was forced to marry again.

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Anumaraju Rajeshwari

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.  Rajeswari’s two elder sisters are married. She and her two younger sisters have dropped out of school and work on agriculture doing hard labour on cotton and chilli farms as migrant labourers. Rajeswari was forced into marriage at 14years old after which she suffered two miscarriages and physical abuse as a result.

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Renuka

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.  Renuka was 12 years old when she was forced to marry. She is responsible for all the house work, as well as caring for her brother-in-law's three children and her own baby. After two years, Renuka became pregnant again and had medical complications. After delivering a girl, her husband’s family demanded Renuka and her family pay compensation for not delivering a boy. Now pregnant for the third time and at 16 years old, Renuka does not know where to go for help.