Wall Street can Free the World’s 40 Million Modern-Day Slaves
A 2009 study found that almost 250,000 children worked in auto repair stores, brick klins, as domestic labourers, and as carpet weavers and sozni embroiderers in Jammu and Kashmir. A new study says financiers in Wall Street, the City of London and other banking centres should play a bigger role in freeing the millions of people who endure slave-like working conditions globally.
UNITED NATIONS, Oct 2 2019 (IPS) - Financiers in Wall Street, the City of London and other banking centres should play a bigger role in freeing the millions of people who endure slave-like working conditions globally, according to a new study.
A group of experts known as the Financial Sector Commission on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking say that banks and other finance bodies can adopt policies to reduce the 40.3 million men, women and children who are victims of forced labour.
Their 172-page report, Unlocking Potential: A Blueprint for Mobilising Finance Against Slavery and Trafficking, calls for more financial probes into people-smuggling rings and greater support to those freed from slave-like conditions.
“Slavery and human trafficking are big business, reckoned to generate 150 billion dollars every year over the broken backs, hearts and dreams of people young and old,” said Dutch foreign minister Stef Blok, who was involved in the report.
The report paints a bleak portrait of modern slavery, which sees one in every 185 people globally forced to work in an illicit sector that compares in scale to the trade in illegal drugs and counterfeit goods.
Modern forms of slavery include debt bondage, where workers are forced to toil for free in service of a debt, forced marriage, domestic servitude, and forced labour, in which workers face violence or intimidation.
Modern-day slaves can be found doing everything from begging to gold-mining, but the biggest sectors in the 150-billion-dollar-a-year global business are housework, manufacturing and construction. A quarter of those involved are children.
James Cockayne, a co-author of the report and policy analyst at United Nations University, said human trafficking and slavery represented a “tragic market failure”.
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