Travelling down to work today I listened to an item on Triple J about how slavery, including sex slavery, is higher now than at any time before in the known history of man. Unfortunately they did not say if this was in relative terms based on the population of the world, or based on raw numbers. If it was based on raw numbers of people ‘bound’ into slavery then I could sort of see how that might be, considering that there are very nearly 7 billion of us on the plant now.
So I decided to to a little research on the Web.
I found a number of current articles including this comprehensive article on CNN (here).
From what I read it turns out that they are talking about a raw number; but with an estimated 27 million people in slavery it is still kind of unbelievable really. That in these modern days there are so many people classed as slaves. Five million more than the entire population of Australia. About 3.9 percent of all people on the planet.
Not only are there more people than ever classed as being slaves, they are cheaper than they have ever been to ‘buy’. According to the CNN article, two hundred years ago the adjusted cost to ‘buy’ a slave, in modern terms, would have been $40,000. But today the starting price is $90.
Another bizarre fact is that almost all of the countries and states where slavery is rife have laws that ban slavery. Obviously these laws don’t count for much.
The more commons types of slavery are:
- Bonded labour.
- Sex slavery (a.k.a. ‘contract girls’).
- Early and forced marriages.
- Forced labour.
- Military enslavement.
- Trafficking slaves.
India, South America, and Africa are the slavery hot-spots but Mexico, Turkey, and China also glow reasonably bright on the slavery map. But even the UK does not escape with an estimated 4,000 women trafficked into the UK in 2003 for sale as sex slaves (here). It is expected the number has increased since.
For more information you can go to the antislavery.com site (here) and there is also a good item at the ABC (here) which is probably were the Triple JJJ item spawned from. This comprehensive coverage at new.bbc (here) is also worth a read.
Who would have thought?