…the Walk Free Foundation and the International Labour Organization estimated that 40.3 million people were victims of modern slavery in 2016. To put that in perspective, that is greater than the population of Canada.
Sadly, slavery has not been consigned to history. It inflicts untold suffering today and affects us all.
It is not some far-removed problem exclusive to the developing world. It preys on the less fortunate, the weak and the young. We cannot simply turn our attention to the next story in the news.
Quotes From: The Commonwealth Criminal Code – Criminal Code Act 1995 (‘the Criminal Code’)
Division 270 — Slavery and slavery-like conditions
270.1 Definition of slavery
For the purposes of this Division, slavery is the condition of a person over whom any or all of the powers attaching to the right of ownership are exercised, including where such a condition results from a debt or contract made by the person.
270.2 Slavery is unlawful
Slavery remains unlawful and its abolition is maintained, despite the repeal by the Criminal Code Amendment (Slavery and Sexual Servitude) Act 1999 of Imperial Acts relating to slavery.
270.3 Slavery offences
(1) A person who, whether within or outside Australia, intentionally:
(aa) reduces a person to slavery; or
(a) possesses a slave or exercises over a slave any of the other powers attaching to the right of ownership; or
(b) engages in slave trading; or
(c) enters into any commercial transaction involving a slave; or
(d) exercises control or direction over, or provides finance for:
(i) any act of slave trading; or
(ii) any commercial transaction involving a slave;
Commonwealth Consolidated Acts, CRIMINAL CODE ACT 1995 – SCHEDULE The Criminal Code
Australian Legal Framework, Anti-Slavery Australia
Today, we continue the long journey toward an America and a world where liberty and equality are not reserved for some, but extended to all. Across the globe, including right here at home, millions of men, women, and children are victims of human trafficking and modern-day slavery. We remain committed to abolishing slavery in all its forms and draw strength from the courage and resolve of generations past.
President Barack Obama
HUMAN TRAFFICKING DEFINED
The TVPA defines “severe forms of trafficking in persons” as:
➤ sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age; or
➤ the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery. A victim need not be physically transported from one location to another for the crime to fall within these definitions.
- The definition provided above differs from the definition of Human Trafficking utilized in the UK.
- This report mentions the results of When We Raise Our Voice: The Challenge of Eradicating Labor Exploitation, a study conducted by the Harvard University FXB Center for Health and Human Rights.
At the government level, each country needs an anti-slavery plan. Brazil shows what can happen when a government takes a stand. In early 2003 the president of Brazil set up a commission to end slavery. Laws were strengthened and more money was given to anti-slavery squads. In 2003, close to 5000 people were rescued from slavery by Special Mobile Inspection Groups; by 2005 another 7000 had been rescued. More than $3 million was given to liberated slaves to help them get back on their feet. A company or person caught using slaves is put on an official “dirty list,” and in addition to prosecution and imprisonment, that company or person is excluded from receiving any sort of government permits, grants, loans, or credits. Since a large proportion of slaves in Brazil work where land is being developed (ranching, deforestation, agriculture, and logging in the Amazon and other remote areas), the denial of government benefits to slave-using companies can drive them out of business.
Quotes From: ASEAN Plan of Action Against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children
C. Law Enforcement and Prosecution of Crimes of Trafficking in Persons
b. Develop pro-active investigation methods and where appropriate, to conduct surveillance and other pro-active measures to gather evidence to establish a case to prosecute trafficking in persons cases even without the testimony of victims;
c. Enhance efforts to investigate alleged cases of trafficking in persons, strengthen the means to combat trafficking, prosecute the perpetrators, including through more systematic use of freezing assets for the purpose of eventual confiscation in accordance with the provisions of Article 17 of the ACTIP, and ensure that penalties are proportionate to the gravity of the crime;
e. Prosecute crimes of trafficking in persons that encompass all forms of exploitation and enact, enforce and strengthen legislation that criminalises all forms of trafficking in persons, especially women and children;
f. Combat and prosecute organised criminal groups engaged in trafficking in persons, in accordance with domestic laws;
g. Investigate, prosecute and punish corrupt public officials who engage in or facilitate trafficking in persons and promote a zero-tolerance policy against those corrupt officials consistent with the United Nations Convention against Corruption and the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime;
ASEAN Convention Against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, (ACTIP) of 2015, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
A complete list of laws can be found here: U.S. Laws on Trafficking in Persons
Quotes From: Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000
SEC. 102. PURPOSES AND FINDINGS.
- a) PURPOSES- The purposes of this division are to combat trafficking in persons, a contemporary manifestation of slavery whose victims are predominantly women and children, to ensure just and effective punishment of traffickers, and to protect their victims.
- (b) FINDINGS- Congress finds that:
- (13) Involuntary servitude statutes are intended to reach cases in which persons are held in a condition of servitude through nonviolent coercion. In United States v. Kozminski, 487 U.S. 931 (1988), the Supreme Court found that section 1584 of title 18, United States Code, should be narrowly interpreted, absent a definition of involuntary servitude by Congress. As a result, that section was interpreted to criminalize only servitude that is brought about through use or threatened use of physical or legal coercion, and to exclude other conduct that can have the same purpose and effect.
- (14) Existing legislation and law enforcement in the United States and other countries are inadequate to deter trafficking and bring traffickers to justice, failing to reflect the gravity of the offenses involved. No comprehensive law exists in the United States that penalizes the range of offenses involved in the trafficking scheme. Instead, even the most brutal instances of trafficking in the sex industry are often punished under laws that also apply to lesser offenses, so that traffickers typically escape deserved punishment.
- (15) In the United States, the seriousness of this crime and its components is not reflected in current sentencing guidelines, resulting in weak penalties for convicted traffickers.
- (16) In some countries, enforcement against traffickers is also hindered by official indifference, by corruption, and sometimes even by official participation in trafficking.
SEC. 103. DEFINITIONS.
- (2) COERCION- The term `coercion’ means–
- (A) threats of serious harm to or physical restraint against any person;
- (B) any scheme, plan, or pattern intended to cause a person to believe that failure to perform an act would result in serious harm to or physical restraint against any person; or
- (C) the abuse or threatened abuse of the legal process.
- (3) COMMERCIAL SEX ACT- The term `commercial sex act’ means any sex act on account of which anything of value is given to or received by any person.
- (4) DEBT BONDAGE- The term `debt bondage’ means the status or condition of a debtor arising from a pledge by the debtor of his or her personal services or of those of a person under his or her control as a security for debt, if the value of those services as reasonably assessed is not applied toward the liquidation of the debt or the length and nature of those services are not respectively limited and defined.
- (5) INVOLUNTARY SERVITUDE- The term `involuntary servitude’ includes a condition of servitude induced by means of–
- (A) any scheme, plan, or pattern intended to cause a person to believe that, if the person did not enter into or continue in such condition, that person or another person would suffer serious harm or physical restraint; or
- (B) the abuse or threatened abuse of the legal process.
SEC. 108. MINIMUM STANDARDS FOR THE ELIMINATION OF TRAFFICKING.
- (a) MINIMUM STANDARDS- For purposes of this division, the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking applicable to the government of a country of origin, transit, or destination for a significant number of victims of severe forms of trafficking are the following:
- (1) The government of the country should prohibit severe forms of trafficking in persons and punish acts of such trafficking.
- (2) For the knowing commission of any act of sex trafficking involving force, fraud, coercion, or in which the victim of sex trafficking is a child incapable of giving meaningful consent, or of trafficking which includes rape or kidnapping or which causes a death, the government of the country should prescribe punishment commensurate with that for grave crimes, such as forcible sexual assault.
- (3) For the knowing commission of any act of a severe form of trafficking in persons, the government of the country should prescribe punishment that is sufficiently stringent to deter and that adequately reflects the heinous nature of the offense.
- (4) The government of the country should make serious and sustained efforts to eliminate severe forms of trafficking in persons.
Slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour
(1)A person commits an offence if—
(a)the person holds another person in slavery or servitude and the circumstances are such that the person knows or ought to know that the other person is held in slavery or servitude, or
(b)the person requires another person to perform forced or compulsory labour and the circumstances are such that the person knows or ought to know that the other person is being required to perform forced or compulsory labour.
(2)In subsection (1) the references to holding a person in slavery or servitude or requiring a person to perform forced or compulsory labour are to be construed in accordance with Article 4 of the Human Rights Convention.
(3)In determining whether a person is being held in slavery or servitude or required to perform forced or compulsory labour, regard may be had to all the circumstances.
(4)For example, regard may be had—
(a)to any of the person’s personal circumstances (such as the person being a child, the person’s family relationships, and any mental or physical illness) which may make the person more vulnerable than other persons;
(b)to any work or services provided by the person, including work or services provided in circumstances which constitute exploitation within section 3(3) to (6).
(5)The consent of a person (whether an adult or a child) to any of the acts alleged to constitute holding the person in slavery or servitude, or requiring the person to perform forced or compulsory labour, does not preclude a determination that the person is being held in slavery or servitude, or required to perform forced or compulsory labour.
(1)A person commits an offence if the person arranges or facilitates the travel of another person (“V”) with a view to V being exploited.
(2)It is irrelevant whether V consents to the travel (whether V is an adult or a child).
The issue of protection for overseas domestic workers was a frustrating one. The draft Bill was silent on the plight of hundreds of workers enslaved in households in the UK. But, following sustained pressure and hands-on advocacy in which Anti-Slavery supported Kalayaan and others, a historic vote was taken in the House of Lords which brought back domestic workers’ right to leave an abusive employer. Unfortunately, the government remained deaf to our arguments and passed its own amendment requiring domestic workers to receive a positive decision from the National Referral Mechanism confirming they have been trafficked before allowing them to change employers. It is a bad decision that will deter domestic workers who face abuse and exploitation from coming forward to the authorities. On the other hand, it is a major achievement in itself that the Act now contains a specific provision on overseas domestic workers which is a gateway to getting better protection for this vulnerable group of workers in future. The fight on that issue continues.
Another momentous shift in the Government’s position was the introduction of the requirement for large companies to annually report on efforts to identify and address modern slavery in their supply chains. We worked with a coalition of NGOs, business and investors to persuade the Government that mandatory, rather than voluntary, disclosure in relation to company supply chains is the way forward.
It is a shame then that a loophole has been identified which allows companies hide their supply chains overseas as long as the goods they produce don’t end up in Britain. This, for example, means letting off the hook companies building sites for the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Finally, a major shortcoming in the Act is the lack of an extraterritoriality of slavery offence. This means that a British citizen could abuse someone overseas and not be held to account back in UK.
black, brown, or white.
Clean and healthy is a right.
Every place we live and play
Environmental justice is the way!”
“F is for feminist.
For Fairness in our pay.
For freedom to Flourish
and choose our own way.”
–A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara
As demand for cheap fish and shrimp ramped up, a gold rush began in Bangladesh, Southern India, Indonesia, Thailand, Burma, and Sri Lanka. “Worthless” swamp was converted into monoculture shrimp farms, fish processing camps sprang up, and the great freezer ships were always hungry for more. Hearing of work, poor families flooded into the Sundarban wilderness. Some people were able to make a fresh start, and some landowners working in fish and shrimp were honest and treated their workers well. But criminals were already using child slaves on fishing platforms out in the ocean, and for them it was an easy step to enslave more workers to rip out mangrove forests and farm the little wrigglers that would make such a fine profit.
As the people push in more trees are cut, more islands are taken over, and more children and adults are enslaved to do the work. Some act in desperation, others from greed, but the cycle means that more and more of the forests that protect both people and the rich ecosystem are destroyed.
The loss to nature is profound. Nearly half of the amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and birds living in mangrove forests are threatened with extinction. These animals, for the most part, aren’t found anywhere else: their range is restricted to the mangrove forests of Asia and Australia. At the current rate of forest loss, the forests and all they hold will all be extinct in one hundred years.
Blood and Earth, Modern Slavery, Ecocide and the Secret To Saving the World by Kevin Bales
“When you are talking about illegal fishing,” he said, “you are also talking about human smuggling.”
The question now is if the men will be rescued. Many governments lack the resources — or the will — to implement a patchwork of outdated maritime rules, some written more than a century ago. Kenneth Kennedy, a senior policy adviser for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, said international fishing agreements on sustainability, pollution and labor are needed, and those that do exist often go unenforced.
“If all these corporations, or ships, are ignoring these things put in place for the future of humanity, then what are we doing?” he asked. “We’re just spinning our wheels.”