January 15, 2015

10 Facts About Slavery

I remember when I first read about modern slavery...I was spending some time flipping through a magazine waiting for my class to start, when I turned a page and read a headline about people trying to free slaves, TODAY.  I was shocked!  Didn't slavery end with the civil war?  Why had I never heard about this before?  What I read described children Africa being kidnapped, forced to work as slaves, and desperate parents trying to buy their children back.

But it wasn't until years later that I would learn how widespread slavery still is.   While legal slavery in the US ended with emancipation, throughout the world and even in the US, slavery continues.   I'm not talking about people paid too little, or "enslaved" by their circumstances, but REAL slavery, where people are forced to work or prostitute themselves and kept enslaved through  fraud, coercion and threat of violence.

Every year for Hearts Should Be Free I update a short list of facts about slavery to share on the first giveaway post.  I'll go further into detail on some of these aspects of slavery in some later HSBF giveaways, but here just a few brief facts to get you started:

10 Facts About Modern Slavery
  1. Millions of people are estimated to be in slavery today.  
  2. Slave traffickers maintain control of their victims through various means, including violence, coercion  and threats of harm to loved ones.  
  3. The modern "slave trade" is commonly referred to as "human trafficking."  
  4. Though slavery has been banned throughout the world, in many countries laws against slavery are not enforced, and in others they are inadequate (only covering certain types of slavery, or certain victims).  At least nine nations have no legislation specifically criminalizing slavery. 
  5. Sex trafficking accounts for 58% of all human trafficking.  Forced labor makes up around 38%.  Other forms of human trafficking include forced marriage and forced enlistment of child soldiers.  
  6. Victims of forced labor have been found in nearly every job setting imaginable...including factories, restaurants, private homes, medical facilities, farms, and construction sites. 
  7. 33% of trafficking victims identified worldwide are children. 
  8. While poverty can leave people more vulnerable to enslavement, this is not just a third-word problem.  Slavery is present even in developed nations like the United States.
  9. There are reported cases of modern slavery in every country of the world, except Greenland. 
  10. We are closer to ending slavery than ever before.  The number of people in slavery today is the smallest percentage of the global population enslaved in modern history. Some experts believe that slavery could be eradication within 30 years.  

*Identified victims are victims of trafficking that have been in contact with an institution (such as the police,  social services, shelters run by the state or by NGOs, etc.)

SOURCES:  U.S. State Department Trafficking in Persons Report - 2014 (1,2), International Labor Organization (1, 3)  Polaris Project (3) UNDOC Global Report on Trafficking in Persons - 2014  (4,5,7) SlaveryFootprint.org  (6) See my collection of links to stories about victims in various industries (8,10) Kevin Bale's TED Talk  (9) Alliance Against Modern Slavery  (10) BBC

    Would you like to do something to stop slavery?  One simple thing you can do is spread the word!  Please feel free to copy this list and share it on your blog, tweet about it, etc.  Please include the sources, and if you use this list verbatim, let others know they are allowed to share it.

    For more ideas on how to fight modern slavery, click here.

    Bethany of Fret Knot Jewelry has graciously offered to give one of you one of her Arrow Bracelets, in the size and color of your choice.  These beautiful bracelets also have a beautiful story, which you can read below.   And they are doing something beautiful too---for each of these Bracelets sold on Etsy, $4 will be donated to help victims of human trafficking.

    "This design came to life when I was asked to make something as a symbol of hope for two trafficked girls who had been rescued. Some friends made them each a handmade hope chest, and filled it with things that represented a fresh start, and of course, hope (including the first two arrow bracelets I ever mailed off). The teens have since gone on to speak out and be a voice about human trafficking in their home state and even across the country--truly inspirational to many others."
    ~ Bethany

    Find Fred Knot Jewelry At

    Enter on the Rafflecopter below.  Giveaway is open only to residents of the US, UK, and Canada (excluding Quebec).   You must be 18 or older to enter.  Read complete rules here.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway


    1. The jewelry is gorgeous! Fingers Crossed!

    2. very nice bracelet. It would make a great gift for any of my daughters

    3. The bracelet is a splendid symbol of hope for modern day slavery awareness.

    4. Yes I did, and it is a horrible reality.

    5. No, I did not know that there is still slavery today

    6. No,I didn't realize that slavery was still going on like that. It is horrific and something should be done.

    7. In regards to the question about slavery, I wasn't sure.


    8. Yes, I knew there is modern day slavery in some countries.

    9. No I actually had no idea there was still slavery today. kekagelATyahoo.com

    10. Beautiful bracelet and the meaning behind is much more valuable.

    11. Unfortunately, I do know. It's a pretty design!

    12. Yes, sadly, I know there are lots of children and adults in slavery...

    13. Sadly, I know it happens still to this day. Slavery is disgusting and disgraceful. My daughter and I are following the TV movie (made from the book) The Book of Negreos. A very sad story.

    14. Love this bracelet and the other beautiful jewelry!

    15. Any kind of slavery is awful. I wish the world was free of it but I know that wishing won't help anything. We all need to take action before anything will change or help these people.

    16. yes i knew about the slavery but not how series it is

    17. I have been involved with the CIW since they kicked off their campaign against Taco Bell back in 2001. I traveled with the CIW from Florida to California for a week-long protest and hunger strike outside of YUM Brands HQ (Taco Bell's parent company). So yes, I know about modern-day slavery and have actively tried to fight against it!

      1. That's great! An article by CIW is where I first learned that slavery for labor was still happening here (I think I already knew about sex trafficking and how it ties with slavery here already by then, but a story that CIW highlighted about tomato workers locked in a truck and forced to work....it really opened my eyes. One of the things that helped lead me to do Hearts Should Be Free.) So, thank you!

    18. Sad that this is still happening - share it.

    19. Yes trafficking is very real. It has been reported even in Fenton, Michigan. You would think we are free, but there are still those that are not. When I watched the movie Taken, it made me so aware of how important it is to beware of your suroundings.

    20. Ther are a few brave people looking fo slavers around the world.