Questions for you:
-Do you know something about “forced labour”?
-Do you know what it means?
“We wanted to leave the mill and live freely but I
never thought that would happen in my lifetime.”
-Rajeswari,a survivor of slavery rescued by IJM
Definition of “forced labour”:
Forced labour is any work or services which people are forced to do against their will under the threat of
some form of punishment. Almost all slavery practices,including trafficking in people and bonded
labour,contain some element of forced labour.
Forced labour affects millions of men,women and children around the world and is most frequently found
in labour intensive and/or under-regulated industries such as:
-Agricolture and fishing
- Domestic work
- Construction,mining,quarrying and brick kilns
-Prostitution and sexual exploitaition
-Market trading and illegals activities
Where and how big is the problem?
Forced labour is a global problem,although some regions have larger numbers of people affected than
others. The regional distribution of forced labour is:
1) Asia and Pacific: 11.7 million (56%)
2) Africa: 3.7 million (18%)
3) Latin America and the Caribbean: 1.8 million (9%)
4) The Developed Economies (US,Canada,Australia,European Union,Japan,Australia,New Zealand):
1.5 million (7%)
5) Central,Southeast and Eastern Europe (non EU) and the Commonwealth of Inidpendent States
(CSEE) 1.6 million (7%)
6) Middle East: 600.000 (3%)
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that there are at least 20.9 million people in forced labour
Why is there a problem?
In around 10 per cent of cases the State or the military is directly responsible for the use of forced
labour.Notable example where this takes place are Uzbekistan,Burma,North Korea and China. However in
the vast majority of cases forced labour is used by private individuals who are seeking to make profits
from the exploitaition of other people. Victims of forced labour are frequently from minority or marginalised
groups who face institutionalised discrimination and live on the margins of society where they are
vulnerable to slavery practices.
Introducing the problem of “Mines”
Mining for precious metals and rocks such as gold and diamonds top the list of the industries most
likely to employ child labor in Africa. A recent PBS report stated that there are almostone million
children currently working in the gold mines in Africa. For less than $2 a day,children as young as
five spend 12-15 hours a day in mining gold in Burkina Faso, Mali and the Democratic Republic of
Congo. Many times the children are orphaned from various wars and conflicts that persist in much
of the African continent and are drawn to the mines for survival. Children are also exploited as
forced labor in the diamond mines of Angola, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe. All three countries have
barely recovered from brutal, violent, civil wars and children are often forced to mine for what is
commonly known as “blood diamonds” or “conflict diamonds,” where the military or rebel group still
controls the diamond mines with machine guns, beatings and death.
The problem of Forced labour in Italy
Italy is a destination and transit country for women, children, and men trafficked internationally for the
purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Women and children are trafficked for forced
prostitution mainly from Nigeria, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, Albania, and Ukraine but also from Russia,
South America, North and East Africa, the Middle East, China, and Uzbekistan.According to one NGO, 90
percent of foreign seasonal workers are unregistered and two-thirds are in Italy illegally, rendering them
vulnerable to trafficking. Traffickers continued to move victims more frequently within Italy, often keeping
victims in major cities for only a few months at a time, in an attempt to evade police detection.
The Government of Italy fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Italy
prohibits all forms of trafficking in persons through its 2003 Measures Against Trafficking in Persons law,
which prescribes penalties of eight to 20 years’ imprisonment.
Our musings about this:
“Every human being deserves freedom and there is no enemy such as slavery,that deprives a man or a
woman or a kid of it.” -Chiara
“I think that forced labour is something loathsome that ruins mankind and make exploitation and its profit
seem the only important features of this harsh society,which is founded on the enrichment of a man on the
“The majority of people in Italy think that they are immune to this kind of events. In my opinion this is why
these events continue to exist. We must be aware of what happens around us if we want the human rights to
be respected.” -Sonia
How can we tackle this problem?
Now we would like to show you some videos,which explain forced labour through actors,cartoons and
reporters. The first one is made by “Stronger Together”, a collaborative food industry initiative to tackle
human trafficking and forced labour in the supply chain.
The second one is made by the International Labour Organization.
And the third and last one is made by “The Richest”,a YouTube channel full of mind-blowing facts.
Photos made by the “Ted Talk” photographer Lisa Kristine.