- written by Shana Azeem
Slaves were a thing of the past they say. When Martin Luther King went out there and spoke of his dream of seeing a nation where blacks have equal rights, I’m sure he didn’t fathom the possibility of yet another era of slavery. Yet here we are, at the age of technology, and yes, modern slavery.
We talk of human rights, equality, a right to live and be free yet there are a group of people out there who are auctioned for a price, and made to work with no salary, health benefits, insurance and least of all, a moments rest. Slaves, still exist, and are a thriving underground industry that brings in millions to the ever fattening coffers of their traders.
There are over 3 million slaves in the world today, and an approximate 19,000 right here in Sri Lanka. Trapped in to debts, tricked and coerced, a well concealed fact is that a considerable percentage of local housemaids who are sent abroad end up auctioned as slaves. Another portion are sold as child prostitutes while yet another group of children work in construction sites, mines, estates, farms and even households, and most of them have been lured under false promises of a good education and jobs. These are human beings. People, children with feelings and hopes and dreams. And they are treated worse than cattle in a farm.
Comfortable in our homes, secure in our freedom, there is little we can do to free the slaves, or that’s what most people think. Yet everything, every little thing that can be done, can only be done by us.
Education. That’s all it takes, education amongst us, education amongst our peers on how to take a stand against modern slavery. Urge the corporates to clean up their supply chains, demand slave free products, make sure the kid who mows your lawn gets, if not proper education at least fair pay, look out for signs of slavery in your backyard and work towards creating a world that has at least some degree of equality.
Maybe then we could end slavery in our lifetime, and a child could dare to dream.