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World Anti-slavery Day

The Evangelical Alliance Relief Fund


December 2 2008

Kiwis urged to become part of the solution on World Anti-slavery Day

Although slavery was abolished worldwide in 1926, it is still a thriving industry today with between 600,000 to 800,000 people being trafficked every year. On World Anti-slavery Day (December 2) it is time for those in developing nations not only to speak out against the trade, but to be part of the solution, TEAR Fund Executive Director Stephen Tollestrup said.

“It is not enough to abolish slavery or to say it is wrong. We need to attack the causes of why the trade still thrives, and at the root of all forms of slavery lies desperate poverty. Abolishing slavery doesn’t make the problem go away.”

The focus of TEAR Fund’s Christmas appeal, The Lost Children of the Himalayas is an example of a project where that approach is taking place, said Mr Tollestrup. TEAR Fund is working in Nepal to alleviate the sort of poverty that sees 10,000 Nepalese children trafficked into brothels in India every year.

“Traffickers prey on families made vulnerable by poverty, offering their children good jobs and a better life in India; but the reality is a degrading life of prostitution or bonded servitude.”

By providing microenterprise initiatives, as well as farmer training and trade skills training, TEAR Fund through its partner Share and Care Nepal is creating employment locally.

The result is that family incomes are being boosted and nutritious food is being grown, so there is no need for parents to send their children away for work, he said.

In addition, families are being educated about the deceptions used by child traffickers and through the programme, traffic victims returning home are cared for and reintegrated back into the community. TEAR Fund’s partner is also working closely with the authorities to apprehend traffickers.

Slavery Facts

Slavery today is defined as forced labour without pay under threat of violence.

- Slavery was abolished in England 1838, USA 1865, and Outlawed internationally in 1926 by the slave convention.

- UN Abolition of similar practices in 1956: Bonded labour, serfdom, sale of women into marriage, child labour.

- There are estimated 27 million slaves in the world today or 67 million if you include underpaid child labour

- The most common form of slavery is bonded labour used to repay family debt. It impacts 20 million adults and children.

- About 300,000 are child soldiers or gang-pressed recruits for rebel factions.

- About 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked internationally every year. Approximately 80 per cent of them are women and children.

- Slavery was officially abolished worldwide at the 1927 Slavery Convention, yet it continues to thrive thanks to the complicity of some governments and the ignorance of much of the world.

- In the 2000 Refugee Report, “Trafficking in Women and Children: A Contemporary Manifestation of Slavery,” former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright calls human trafficking “the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world.”

- Slavery is an extremely profitable, international industry. Experts estimate trafficking in the US yields $9 billion every year. Around the world, trafficking in women for commercial sex purposes nets $6 billion per year. The trade of human flesh is so lucrative that authorities complain that even as they close in on one smuggling ring in the US, another one pops up.

- The four most common types of slavery are: chattel slavery, debt bondage, forced labour, and sexual slavery.


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