Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Up to 27 Million people are slaves today!!!

It is 200 years since Britain made a law to abolish slavery, there is a new movie about it “Amazing Grace” and the story of William Wilberforce. So why is that today more people are in forced slavery than there was 200 years ago? Young Girls and Boys forced in to Prostitution and other vile parts of the sex industry. Young Girls forced into domestic work for just bed and board, if that is what it’s called.

Listening to a programme on the world service, so it isn’t a fully unbiased piece of programming, but it was very good, young children in Africa, Asia and the Filipinas are often sold by parents as they cannot afford to feed, clothe and school all of their children. The sale usually goes along the lines of, a man or woman goes to a village saying they are representing a company of some sort that has been offered work in America or Europe and if they have a child they can get them work as a domestic in a big house with good pay, enough pay for the child to send plenty of money home. Now comes the really nasty bit, they have to borrow the money off these evil people to pay for the flight, they cannot afford this so they are now in debt to these people, the child has to work off the debt, but that will never happen, so they will end up giving another child to them, then another....

These Children are rarely seen again, once out of the village they are quickly sold on, sometime as many 10 times before ending in up a brothel in Europe or America. Only just before Christmas some Brothels in the Centre of Birmingham were raided and young Pilipino Girls were set free, set free to what? I don’t know.

I wish I had an answer to how to stop this evil trade in people. Each person made in the Likeness of God, each person so precious and beautiful that he gave his only son to die for them.

Here are a few statistics I found on Save the Children’s website.

On the 200th anniversary of the Slave Trade Act, a new report by Save the Children reveals millions of children are still living as child slaves.

The report exposes the eight most prevalent forms of child exploitation where children are found in slavery-like conditions, forced to work long hours for little or nothing in return and often subject to extreme harm, violence and rape.

Child trafficking
1.2 million children and babies are trafficked every year, including into Western Europe, the Americas and the Caribbean, and the number is increasing.

Gangs involved in child and people trafficking make an estimated profit of US$ 32 billion per year.

Child prostitution
At any one time across the world, around 1.8 million children are being abused through prostitution, child pornography and sex tourism.

In the UK there are 5,000 child prostitutes. 75% of them are girls.

Bonded child labour
Millions of children are forced to work away their childhood in horrific conditions to pay off debt, or simply the interest on it.

In India alone, estimates suggest up to 15 million children could be enslaved by somebody else's debt, many involved in illegal, hazardous and dangerous work.

Forced work in mines
One million children are risking their lives in mines and quarries in more than 50 African, Asian and South American countries.

In the Sahel region of Africa, 200,000 children are working in gold and mineral mines.

Forced agricultural labour
132 million children under 15 work in agriculture, many unable to escape and exposed to pesticides, heavy machinery and dangerous tools.

In Kazakhstan, children work in cotton and tobacco fields and factories for up to 12 hours a day, seven days a week.

Child soldiers*
300,000 children under 15 are involved with fighting forces, including government armies. Boys and girls in at least 13 countries are actively being recruited as child soldiers or as army 'wives'.

Around 11,000 children in Democratic Republic of Congo are currently being held by fighting groups.

Forced child marriage
Child marriage is one of the most widespread - yet hidden - forms of slavery. Girls as young as four are forced to live with their husbands, and are often kept trapped indoors.

Girls under 15 are five times more likely to die during pregnancy and childbirth than women over 20. In Afghanistan more than half of all girls are married before they are 16.

Domestic slavery
Millions of children across the world, some as young as six, are forced to work up to 15 hour days as domestic workers. Many are beaten, starved and sexually abused.

There are 200,000 child domestic workers in Kenya, 550,000 in Brazil and 264,000 in Pakistan.

Jasmine Whitbread, CEO Save the Children:

"Child slavery is not a historical phenomenon - it is a stark reality for millions of children in both poor and rich countries. These children are treated like commodities; they can be lent or sold to other owners without warning, and live under crushing conditions of humiliation and abuse. Governments everywhere - including the UK - are not doing enough to respond to the plight of children trapped in this inhumane situation. World leaders and international donors must act as a matter of urgency to address child slavery and put in place the laws and resources needed to eradicate these terrible practices."

Save the Children is calling on all governments to:

address and ensure the eradication of child slavery through their own policies on global poverty reduction.
invest sufficient money and resources to protect children associated with slavery.
implement international standards on the worst forms of child labour where children in slavery are found.
put in place protection programmes, including recovery and rehabilitation, to offer emergency and long-term support to all children trapped in slavery-like conditions.
ensure education is offered in ways that support the removal of children involved in the worst forms of child labour; for example, that it is accessible, flexible and affordable.

Save the Children is calling on the public to:

lobby their MPs to make the elimination of child slavery a priority.
support fair trade initiatives that protect the rights of child laborers.
I know on Sunday that both services are about the 200th aniversary of Slavery. I am sure team Leader will gives us plenty to think about.