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25 August 2004

Everywhere in chains

Today is the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition - an event of particular importance this year because 2004 is the UN's International Year to Commemorate the Struggle against Slavery and its Abolition.

Yet slavery continues: millions of women, children and men throughout the world are enslaved and no region is free from this abuse, even though it is illegal under international law.
This is from an article by Beth Herzfeld, press officer for Anti-Slavery International, which is one of my supported causes as you can see in the left-hand margin of this blog. A lot of people do not want to believe that there is still "real" slavery in the world. Especially not if it means accepting, for example, that up to 40% of commercial chocolate is produced by bona fide slave labour. No, not just underpaid, terrorised, marginalised workers. We are talking slave-gang raids, young men and boys in chains, locked up at night, killed if they try to flee. That kind of slavery. And the same ostrich-thinking applies if you try to talk about sex slaves or domestic slaves in London and other western capitals. They are "failed asylum seekers", or "enslaved" by addiction, or unfortunate, poor women of low self-esteem who made "bad choices". Um, no. They are ordinary women from poor countries who are 1) kidnapped, 2) raped, 3) sold and 4) threatened with death if they try to escape. Sounds like slavery to me, and there is no choice involved. Click on the Anti-Slavery International link to learn more and get your head up out of the sand.

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