If we think that kidnapping, corruption, poor service delivery, money laundering, unemployment, corruption and the likes are the most agonizing ills that we are currently posed with in our world today, then we really need to think again.
Let’s seat back, relax and talk about something more heartbreaking than the other social challenges we’re facing, yet, we as a society have turned a blind eye to it time and again: it is called Modern Day Slavery.
In a world where slave trade was avowedly abolished some centuries ago, it is awfully heart-rending to learn that slavery still thrives. Modern language uses human trafficking and child labor as if referring to a new phenomenon. What difference is there between today’s human trafficking and slave trade; and between child labor and slavery? These are just names adopted to denote some forms of the old evil of slavery; it is a matter of semantics, so to speak, as the ills perpetrated are exactly the same. These new forms of slavery are like the old – both locally and internationally.
Whilst some might argue that the comparison with slavery is perhaps overstating the case, the violation of the fundamental human rights of the victims inherent in the two scenarios is indisputable.
The children who are victims of abuse are mainly enticed by promise of a better life. The practice of taking children from their parents by well-to-do persons in other to better their lot was a magnanimous practice which has been completely manipulated and successfully hijacked, by modern day traffickers who have constituted themselves into a very powerful and deadly mafia. These children who happily left home expecting to experience a better life eventually find themselves in labor camps, and other dehumanizing jobs, like prostitution and drug trafficking.
Shockingly, human trafficking is now said to be the second largest and fastest growing criminal industry in the world, only second to arms trade. Sadly, 70% of the victims of human trafficking are females; majority of them–children. Facts to buttress this:
“According to the U.S. Department of Justice, human trafficking has become the second fastest growing criminal industry — just behind drug trafficking — with children accounting for roughly half of all victims. Of the 2,515 cases under investigation in the U.S. in 2010, more than 1,000 involved children.
And those are only the ones we know of. Too often, authorities say, victims stay silent out of fear, so no one knows they exist.
That’s why President Obama declared January National Human Trafficking Awareness month.” Human trafficking a growing crime in the U.S.
Phrases like: “hard working child”, “responsible child”,”promising child”, etc., are used to colour the real connotation of the tragic reality:”child abuse”. However, no amount of such pretentious coloration would suffice.
Often, it is only when we see children being forced into early marriages; working in factories, or other established labor camps that we remember child abuse. Child abuse is not limited to factory and sales of wares. It extends to instances of children being used as house helps, baby sitters, bus conductors, street hawkers, etc. Such children are given out in return for daily, monthly, or annual monetary returns for the family. Children in these categories are often asked to perform duties that are not commensurate with them. They hardly combine these works with their education, thus, they either quit school or attend school as a part time engagement.
Abuse has a number of effects on the child involved which are hazardous to their mental health. Abused children carry responsibilities for which they are not prepared. They are subjected to work overtime, mostly at nights, when other children are asleep – this is downright enslavement. Abuse injures the psyche of the child. A sexually molested child is prone to develop phobia and hatred for the opposite gender. All in all, the child is robbed of his/her fundamental human rights to education, health and security.
Moreover, it takes a considerable time and therapy for a victimized child to inhale the pure air of freedom and safety during rehabilitation process. Thus, families and the society at large should ensure that children are raised in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding – to ensure their full and harmonious development.
Nevertheless, as a community of changemakers, I invite us to take a thorough look in the world around us. Think of those who are victims of any form of modern day slavery. Is that the kind of life that we want for them? Is that the kind of experience that we want for our future? How can we as a community of changemakers in our various contexts and backgrounds help to mitigate the evil of modern day slavery and help those who have been victimized by this inhumane act?
Share your ideas, views, experiences and knowledge about this hot topic and post your solutions in the comment section below.