Today is the international day against human trafficking and there are a few things I want to say about that. I don't have the time to take my pic with the heart sign or anything like that as I'm right now in the process of packing. Anyhow, I think that what I'm about to say is as a good way of paying tribute to this day as any other.
You see, this is subject I have often thought about and I still often think about. The issue of slavery and its occurrence trough history has been something of a obsession of mine. I've literally spend years of my life thinking about colonialism and slavery and basically about the way it has influenced the world we live in. I won't get into colonialism or post colonialism right now, but let's say that this is a matter I have given great though.
However, as it usually happens with me, not only did it take some time for the things to fall into place and rearrange themselves in this mind of mine but I need a piece of literature to help me put things into perspective. One vintage sf short novel shed a new light on something I felt as a real scar on my soul. When I had read Logic of Empire by Robert A. Heinlein (my review here) I realized how just much this issue was worrying me and why. You see this novel is set in future (as usually sf novels are) and on one of the planets in our solar system (now colonized by people) slavery has showed its ugly head again.
What was revolutionary about this novella was not only that I realized how much slavery has been and still is a part of our civilization but the 'makes your blood runs cold' fact that changes are high that it might stay a part of our civilization. Something is terribly wrong with us if we let this happen. Thousand questions aroused in my head after reading this one and they continue to do so. Let me share a passage with you:
" Slavery is economically unsound, non- productive, but men drift into it whenever the circumstances compel it. A different financial system- but that is another story"
" I still think it is rooted in human cussedness," Wingate said stubbornly.
" Not cussedness- simple stupidity. I can't prove it to you but you will learn."
Is there something that compels us to slavery? However difficult it may be to accept, we must look into 'this place of darkness' as Joseph Conrad called it. There are things that are hard to face. Nevertheless, that is what we must do. Here is another passage from their (characters in Logic of Empire) dialogue regarding slavery that really got me thinking:
It's nothing new; it happened in the Old South, it it happened again in California, in Mexico, in Australia, in South America. Why? Because in any expanding free-enterprise economy which does not have a money system designated to fit its requirements, the use of mother country to develop the colony inevitably results in subsistence-level wedges at home and slave labor in the colonies. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer, and all the good will in the world on the part of the ruling classes won't change it, because the basic problem is one requiring scientific analysis and a mathematical mind. Do you think you can explain those issues to the general public?"
" I can try."
I cannot say that I completely understand everything that Robert wanted to say but I do appreciate his logic and intelligence. It gives me hope that perhaps one day we will be able to solve this burning issues. We won't if we don't try!
Finally, I want to share with you something else. Seeing this video on youtube (originally I had seen another video but it is almost the same) has made me infinitely sad, but these are the fact and we must face them:
The average cost of a slave in 2013 was between $90 and $100
In most regions, 80% of trafficking involves sexual exploitation
The remaining 20% is generally for labor exploitation
The number of slaves on Earth today is estimated between 20 and 30 million
Nearly 1 million of them are moved across an international border every year on the black market
70% of those slaves are female
50% are children
Behind drugs and weapons, human trafficking is the third largest international crime industry in the world
It generates approximately $33 billion ever year
Over half of that comes from industrialized countries
Even for purposes of labor exploitation, women still constitute over half of Earth's enslaved population
Organ harvesting is another seldom mentioned but quickly growing industry that benefits from human trafficking
An estimated 30,000 victims of sex trafficking die each year from abuse, disease, torture, and neglect
Eighty percent of those sold into sexual slavery are under 24, and some are as young as six years old
Ludwig "Tarzan" Fainberg, a convicted trafficker, said, "You can buy a woman for $10,000 and make your money back in a week if she is pretty and young. Then everything else is profit
A 2003 study in the Netherlands found that, on average, a single sex slave earned her pimp at least $250,000 a year
A human trafficker can earn 20 times what he or she paid for a girl. Provided the girl was not physically brutalized to the point of ruining her beauty, the pimp could sell her again for a greater price because he had trained her and broken her spirit, which saves future buyers the hassle
The end of the Cold War has resulted in the growth of regional conflicts and the decline of borders. Many rebel groups turn to human trafficking to fund military actions and garner soldiers.
According to a 2009 Washington Times article, the Taliban buys children as young as seven years old to act as suicide bombers.
The price for child suicide bombers is between $7,000-$14,000
UNICEF estimates that 300,000 children younger than 18 are currently trafficked to serve in armed conflicts worldwide
Babies are sold on the black market, where the profit is divided between the traffickers, doctors, lawyers, border officials, and others.
Researchers argue that as the economic crisis deepens, the number of people trafficked for forced labor will increase.
Human trafficking is one of the fastest growing criminal enterprises because it holds relatively low risk with high profit potential. Criminal organizations are increasingly attracted to human trafficking because, unlike drugs, humans can be sold repeatedly
There are more slaves in the world today than ever before in history.