At Statens Museum for Kunst
in Copenhagen there is a great painting made in 1797 by the Danish Golden Age
painter Jens Juel. It depicts one of Denmark’s richest merchants at the time – Niels Ryberg, his newlywed son Johan Christian, and the son’s bride, Engelke. Johan Christian makes a gesture as though to show off the family estate. There is a strong feeling of harmony between the people and the countryside in which they are placed. The picture reflects the new interest in nature that emerged all over Europe towards the end of the 18th century. It also demonstrates how Denmark’s new, rich bourgeois wished to carry themselves in the style of the aristocracy, a social class which dominance they were infringing. Ryberg and his son appear just as distinguished as the aristocrats that used to be portrayed by Jens Juel.
“The thing is that when you come from an African country, they know that you’re basically trapped,” says Noel Adabblah.
“You have the wrong documents; you can’t go home because you’ve already borrowed money there to get here, and you won’t risk losing what work you have, no matter how bad, because of that. They know all the tricks.”
The triple planetary crisis
of climate crisis, biodiversity loss, and pollution is a threat to the well-being and survival of millions of people around the world. Corruption, in its many forms, worsens these multiple crises.
It is a terrifying life experience, cut off from the world and trapped in forced labour aboard fishing vessels, often in high seas or seas beyond the territorial waters of any state. The fishers are isolated under hazardous and horrific working conditions under limited regulatory oversight. More than 128,000 fishers were trapped in forced labour aboard fishing vessels in 2021 alone.
Hemmed in by poverty, with barely two days of school a week, and often at risk of unwanted pregnancy or the uncertain prospect of emigration, young women and adolescents are among the main victims of the ongoing crisis in Venezuela.
It has been over a decade since 32-year-old Rafiqa (not her real name) was sold to a villager after being lured by the promise that she would be employed in the handicrafts industry of Indian-administered Kashmir.
In the years when Mexico did not have a general law against human trafficking, there existed an evil man known as "El Osito" (“The Little Bear”). His alias could mislead those who heard of his criminal record: he was a ruthless pimp, devoid of any trace of kindness in his body, who claimed to collect kidnapped women to exploit their bodies.
A new catastrophe in the Mediterranean, this time off the coast of Greece. The number of drowned still to be determined — barely 100 survivors speak of more than 700 passengers on board— will be added to almost 30,000 lost at sea since 2014, according to the International Organization for Migrations
The Chilean government tightened controls on the northern border to curtail the influx of migrants, especially Venezuelans, along a 1,030-km stretch of border with Bolivia and Peru.
They began to arrive en masse in Argentina in the second half of 2022, a few months after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. They are pregnant Russian women who land in the capital to give birth, with the hope of gaining an Argentine passport, given the fact that so many countries refuse to let in people with Russian passports today.
Maliha looks confident in a café in Athens as she tells the story of her journey from Afghanistan to Europe. But as she starts recounting how a smuggler assaulted her in Turkey two years ago, she pauses, looking the other way and fiddling with her loose hair.
Deeepti Rani (13) lives with her mother in a dilapidated dwelling near a railway track in India’s southern state of Karnataka. The mother-daughter duo sells paperbacks on trains for a living.
Thousands of Venezuelans who have crossed the treacherous Darien jungle between Colombia and Panama, or who have made the perilous journey through Central America and Mexico to reach the United States, have found themselves stranded in countries that do not want them, unable to continue their journey or to afford to return to their country.
Fourteen-year-old Priti Pyne was returning from school in Basra village in South 24 Parganas, West Bengal, when she and a friend came across a cold-drink seller selling an attractive-looking drink. The moment the girls sipped it, however, they felt dizzy. When they woke up, it was on a Delhi-bound train at Sealdah station in Kolkata. With the help of other passengers, the girls managed to get off the train.
Human beings have proved to be capable of producing innumerable practical inventions while much too often making the worst use of them. Take the case, per example, of how criminal groups heavily rely on digital platforms to trap and enslave their victims also for extracting and selling their organs.
This is an alert message: if nothing stops the wave of violence in Mexico, by the end of 2024 the country could exceed the figure of 150,000 missing persons.
Eduardo Reyes, originally from Puebla in central Mexico, was offered a 40-hour workweek contract by his recruiter and his employer in the United States, but ended up performing hundreds of hours of unpaid work that was not authorized because his visa had expired, unbeknownst to him.
In addition to slave selling and buying deals in public squares, as reported time ago in ‘liberated’ Libya, a widespread exploitation of men, women, and children has been carried out for years at refugee camps worldwide.
Arien Pauls-Garcia’s journey to working with at-risk youth in California was long and dangerous and started at 19 when she found herself sold and exploited by traffickers.
Governments of the world must focus on providing quality free education and prosecuting corrupt officials and people who siphon state and donor funds as crucial steps towards taking decisive action to fight child labour across the globe.
Ashley has vast work experience. She has laboured by the sweat of her brow in the blistering sun on the streets of Guatemala, in the open fields on farmlands and indoors, toiling for long hours to the hum of a sewing machine.
Her work resume might be impressive to some – street trader, farmworker and tailor – but she, like 160 million children around the world, is trapped in child labour, working desperately to support her impoverished family and provide for her education.