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Deconstructing Modern Day Slavery

by Amy Calfas September 14, 2016

Deconstructing Modern Day Slavery

Each year, the Walk Free Foundation releases the Global Slavery Index, an annual ranking of slavery conditions in countries around the globe. The index serves as a major call to action for the top ten economies of the world to enact stronger laws to ensure that businesses are held accountable for supporting slavery in their supply chains. 

According to this year’s index, approximately 45.8 million people are involved in modern slavery globally, [i] contributing to an estimated $150 billion in yearly profits. [ii] 

58% of those live in 5 countries—India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Uzbekistan. Of these, conservative estimates suggest that 8.6 million of human trafficking victims are in India alone, the highest number of people in modern slavery. This increasing amount is five times more than any other country and continues to reach crisis levels. [iii]

While this includes human trafficking associated with sexual slavery, it’s also important to note that the term applies to individuals who are recruited to perform labor through force, fraud, or coercion. [iv] Trafficking most often affects poor, rural women and children who are transported to major cities by traffickers promising a stable income. In most cases, victims are unpaid or held in debt bondage as they are forced to work in textile forces or in bonded labor as commercial sex workers.

Combating modern slavery in India—where CAUSEGEAR's partners are based—is particularly prescient as the country climbs in its ranks as the world's fastest growing economy and seeks to balance this fiscal growth with a commitment to social justice and human rights. 

According to the State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, India remains a Tier 2 country, meaning what while it does not fully comply with the minimum standards of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, they have made “significant efforts” to bring themselves into compliance with these global standards. [v]

This summer, the Government of India unveiled its first-ever comprehensive draft law on human trafficking. According to Reuters, the legislation "provides for special courts to expedite trafficking cases, more shelters and a rehabilitation fund to help victims rebuild their lives.” [vi] The bill will be brought before parliament by the end of the year and is one of the most robust policy efforts made to stop human trafficking in the country's entire history.

The good news is the private sector also plays a critical role. Here at CAUSEGEAR, we believe that consumers have the power to help end human trafficking. Here’s how you can join:

  1. Empower communities. 

Support social enterprises like CAUSEGEAR that empower crafters who have been victims of trafficking, or are at high risk of human trafficking, by providing dignified employment opportunities. Our innovative 5X model not only provides an income for the crafter, but also for 3 additional people, providing a new way to break the cycle of slavery and poverty across entire communities.

  1. Educate yourself

Learn about the power of your dollar, and then make the pledge to buy only from businesses that source ethically and pursue supply chain transparency. A great place to start is by measuring your slavery footprint, discovering who made your clothes, or by reading reports from Human Rights Watch and other human rights whistle-blowers like UNICEF.

  1. Join the movement. 

Demand that companies that contribute to trafficking within their supply chains source ethically. 

“It ought to concern every person, because it is a debasement of our common humanity. It ought to concern every community, because it tears at our social fabric. It ought to concern every business, because it distorts markets. It ought to concern every nation, because it endangers public health and fuels violence and organized crime. I’m talking about the injustice, the outrage, of human trafficking, which must be called by its true name — modern slavery.”  
President Barack Obama, Remarks by the President to the Clinton Global Initiative, September 2012










Amy Calfas
Amy Calfas


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