Escape Racism: Modern Slavery

Topic Description

Modern slavery and associated human trafficking are considered to be a principal revenue for organised crime. In the modern era, slavery has become a relatively invisible crime which takes several different forms such as sexual exploitation, forced labour, and bonded labour.

In 2017, it was estimated that there were 40.3 million people in slavery worldwide, with approximately 1.5 million victims of slavery spread across North America, Canada, Northern Europe, Japan, and South Korea. It is not, therefore, a problem only found in less developed countries and is an issue which can affect anyone regardless of age, sex, or country of origin.

It is, however, more likely to occur where people are more vulnerable to ineffectual laws or legal loopholes, especially in the case of migrants, illegal immigrants or the homeless which often leaves people open to being exploited.

Sub-topics Covered


Sexual Exploitation – Forced prostitution and sexual abuse including that of children for the creation of images or videos.


Forced Labour – Many victims are forced to work using threats of violence against them or their families, for little or no pay in industries such as agriculture, construction, hospitality, and car washes.


Servitude – A victim’s freedom is curtailed, and they are forced to work, usually within a private household, performing domestic duties or caring for children.


Debt Bondage or Bonded Labour – Victims are required to work in order to pay off a debt and considered to be the most common form of slavery.


Descent Slavery – People are born into slavery and are considered property through descent.

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