For many people, slavery is a tragedy confined to the annals of history. To millions, however, slavery remains a fact of life and a prison that is difficult to escape. Although definitions of slavery have changed in modern times, millions of people, particularly those living in poverty, are affected by slavery every day. The bonds of slavery may not be apparent to the untrained eye, but they nonetheless exist in the countries that ChildFund serves. The Walk Free Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending modern slavery, recently published the Global Slavery Index 2013, a report that demonstrates how forced servitude remains a serious problem around the world.
Although many human
rights organizations and advocacy groups have attempted to calculate the true
human cost and extent of modern slavery in recent years, the Global Slavery
Index 2013 is the first report of its type. Researchers at the Walk Free
Foundation analyzed data to determine in which countries modern slavery is most
prevalent, which industries are most responsible for slavery and how many
families are affected by this practice.
The report categorizes the types of human rights abuses that constitute modern slavery. These violations include forced labor of both children and adults, arranged marriages without the consent of both parties, debt bondage, human trafficking and other practices in which human beings are treated as property by others. With a firm definition of modern slavery in mind, the Global Slavery Index then identified countries in which this type of abuse is most common.
Although human slavery is present in virtually all countries, even the most prosperous, it is prevalent in many sub-Saharan African nations, such as The Gambia, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Liberia, all countries in which ChildFund operates. The Gambia ranked ninth out of 162 countries included in the index, highlighting that many children in need and their families are being exploited.
For 75 years, ChildFund
has worked in some of the world's poorest countries to protect vulnerable
children, helping them and their families break the cycle of generational
poverty and provide opportunities to children who could otherwise become victims
of exploitation. In many instances, families have little choice but to send
their children out to work to support their household. In India, which also
ranks high in the slavery index, many
children have to work dangerous jobs for low pay, which not only jeopardizes
their health and well-being but also robs them of the opportunity to complete
school and acquire the skills and knowledge they need to pursue happy, fulfilled
One of the most effective ways you can help us fight child poverty and bring hope to a child's life is by becoming a child sponsor. For just $28 per month, you can provide a child with the nutritious food, essential health care and educational opportunities he or she needs to thrive. Supporting a child through our sponsorship program significantly reduces the financial burden on a family living in poverty, which in turn lowers the chance that a child will be forced to work or marry against her will, or be exploited in another way. Children have the opportunity to stay in school longer with your support.
Another way you can help families is by becoming a monthly giving partner. Our Essentials for Survival fund allows us to provide aid to families where the need is greatest, whether it be vital medicines and health care to families in African nations or food to children living in Asia.
Ending slavery is a complex and daunting task, but by working together, we can make a difference in the lives of vulnerable children around the world. Please consider becoming a child sponsor or monthly giving partner today, and bring hope to a child's life.
March 3, 2003
12 years old