By Archita Srivastava
Based on a United Nations report titled ‘Stacked odds,’ approximately 29 million women and young girls are victims of ‘modern slavery’—including activities such as debt bondage and domestic servitude.
This research has been very shocking for the world where women and young girls are ill-treated on a regular basis in different countries.
According to this study, one in every 130 women and girls are subject to forced labor, forced marriage, debt bondage, and domestic servitude on a daily basis. This is more than the population of Australia.
“The truth is that there are more people living in slavery today than any other time in human history,” said Grace Forrest, co-founder of the Walk Free anti-slavery movement at a UN press conference.
Modern slavery is described as “the systematic removal of the liberty of an individual, where one individual is oppressed by another for personal or financial gain,” Forrest explained.
This report was combined with findings, data, and studies performed by Walk Free, the International Labor Organization (ILO), and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
According to the report, 99 percent of the victims of forced sexual abuse are women. In addition, 84% of all victims of forced marriage and 58% of all victims of forced labor are women.
The fact that is more depressing is that the researchers have discovered that this exploitation is increasingly becoming a standardized concept and that the pandemic is only making it worse for these victims.
However, Forrest explained that the report does not have the values of the year of the pandemic, but that the exploitation of women and young girls in the pandemic has increased. “The most marginalized people in the world have been forced back into this practice of modern slavery because of COVID-19.”
Walk Free and the U.N. program Every Woman Every Child is launching a global campaign to help ill women and bring global attention to this issue.
One of the key motivations of this movement would be to encourage governments around the world to criminalize child and forced marriage — practices that are still common and decriminalized in almost 136 countries.
Forrest also aims to completely eliminate the practice of kefala — a bondage program that legally binds a migrant worker to an employer or sponsor for the duration of the contract.
She also encouraged people to turn to exploitation-free goods rather than to consume products produced by forced labor. “We know that women and girls are experiencing unprecedented levels of exploitation and forced labor in supply chains of the goods we buy and use every day – clothing, coffee, technology,” Forest said.
Photo courtsey- Anti-slavery International