Mubeen Ahmad was nine years old when his mother sold him into service to a mechanic for the petty sum of few thousand Indian rupees. His mother had found it hard to support the family after his father, a labourer, was killed during one of the anti-India protests in Jammu and Kashmir in 2008.
On a bus in Cotonou, Benin’s commercial capital, four Nigerian girls aged between 15 and 16 sit closely together as they are about to embark on the last part of their journey to Mali, where they are told that their new husbands, whom they never have met, await them.
“They forcefully took us away and kept us like prisoners,” Lydia Musa, a former Boko Haram captive who was abducted at the age of 14 during an attack on her village in Gwoza, in Nigeria’s north eastern Borno State, tells IPS. Musa and two other underaged girls were captured and forced to marry Boko Haram fighters in spite of their protests that they were too young to marry.
"They mislead the workers, tell them that they will be paid well and pay them much less. The recruiters and the employers deceive them," complained Marilyn Gómez, a migrant farm worker in Mexico.
Women and girls from Myanmar are increasingly being trafficked as “brides” to China, a human rights group found.
Modern slavery and human trafficking is one of the fastest growing criminal industries and one of the biggest human rights crises today, United Nations and government officials said.
The United Nations, which diligently monitors human rights violations worldwide, believes that centuries-old slavery still exists worldwide.
While natural hazards like hurricanes, exacerbated by climate change, are causing people to migrate, it’s conflict, violence and persecution that have forced more than 68.5 million people
from their homes today, exposing them to higher risks and increased vulnerability, especially women and children.
After an exhaustive study of modern day slavery, the Geneva-based International Labour Organization (ILO) concluded there are over 40 million people who are victims of slavery, including 25 million in forced labour and 15 million in forced marriages – with at least 71 percent of them comprising women and girls.
The media globally tends to have a bias to negative, sensational and headline grabbing stories and events and this certainly applies to reporting related to human trafficking in the third world. With the abundance of stories around sweat shops, massage parlours and organ trafficking networks happening ‘somewhere else’, the West is generally desensitised, lacks empathy and fails to fully appreciate the scale of the problem which sits right under their noses and in plain sight.