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Modern Slavery, Its Consequences and Countermeasures


Quite a lot of time has passed since slavery in any form of its manifestation was banned as a social phenomenon, and many people gained freedom. Nevertheless, despite the lack of legislative support, this remnant of the past is still encountered in the modern world, and this problem is quite urgent since a large number of people suffer from forcible detention. For the first time, slavery became widespread in the 17th century; however, today, its various forms can be observed in different countries, and it is especially about backward states with a low level of economic development. The phenomenon of slavery seems impossible, but, according to various studies, quite a few people are forced against their will to work and provide particular services. Some ideas of the struggle against slavery are presented in the scientific papers of different authors. Therefore, the relevance of this issue is quite significant, the importance of the problem can hardly be challenged, and certain measures should be taken to completely eradicate this concept from modern life.

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Prerequisites of Modern Slavery

Despite total prohibitions on forced retention of people, slavery is still one of the pressing issues of modern society. Laws to abolish this phenomenon were signed in all the countries where citizens exploited the labor of others for their benefit. However, as Kara (2017) remarks, slavery has continued to influence modern societies as it carries on the notion that the powerful can control the weak as some individuals are superior to others. This approach was typical of the society several centuries ago when colonies re strategically important territories on which slaves and resources were exploited.

Over time, the picture has changed. Colonies have completely disappeared, people have received official freedom, most countries have become independent. Nevertheless, slavery has remained, it has just acquired other forms of manifestation that are more characteristic of modern society. As Rezaeian (2016) claims, the types of modern slavery encompass “prostitution, sexual exploitation, forced labor, bonded labor, forced child labor, slavery, servitude, child soldiering, brides and removal of organs for economic gain” (p. 32). All these actions are illegal, but despite a complete ban, some of the problems described are often encountered. Therefore, it cannot be unequivocally said that slavery is eradicated; it just took other forms, although the prerequisites remained the same as before: the forcible use of people for the sake of profit.

It is necessary to mention that many children from developing countries (such as Bangladesh, Chad, Zimbabwe, and many other Third World states) do not have enough financial means to maintain their worthy lifestyles. In turn, many global corporations build their factories in these territories as the labor of people from the territories mentioned above does not cost much (Lund-Thomsen, Lindgreen, & Vanhamme, 2014). To lower their expenses, transnational companies prefer to hire poor children and their parents to work at their manufacturing powers. By building a tremendous number of such factories in the developing regions, citizens of wealthy countries make their employees suffer because of the hard job (shifts are always long) and the adverse impact that the pollution makes on the local environment (Lund-Thomsen, et al., 2014). It appears that citizens of Third World countries do not even have access to clean water and healthy food. Although their labor is financially rewarded, this activity can also be considered another form of slavery. Usually, individuals who have jobs earn enough money to live according to appropriate standards. Instead, these cheap employees do not have appropriate housing, health services, and other attributes of what is claimed to be a worthy life.

 Bangladesh garment workers suffer poor conditions two years after reform vows.
Figure 1: Bangladesh garment workers suffer poor conditions two years after reform vows (Burke, 2015).

There are many manifestations of slavery in the modern world. The main factor that differentiates this phenomenon from a regular job is the time that workers are required to spend on their professional responsibilities and the amount of pay they receive for these activities. Unfortunately, people might not even recognize that they are enslaved. By enriching businessmen, corrupted politicians, and other entrepreneurs, individuals with low wages let the more significant figures violate their human rights and freedoms. It is a well-known fact that any person needs to have a rest after several hours of work to regain his or her energy for the rest of the shift. In turn, so-called slaves are not allowed to have any breaks as this might hurt the profits of the financial giants they are working for daily.

The relevance of the Issue

A detailed study of the problem of modern slavery and its eradication is caused by not only moral and ethical principles but also statistics that are quite menacing. Thus, according to Elrod (2015), almost twenty-one million children, men, and women across the globe are victims of modern slavery (p. 962). Such a number is officially documented; however, if the governments around the world take into account the fact that the huge number of victims of forced confinement is unregistered, the relevance of the problem will grow even more.

The situation is complicated by the fact that not only adults but also children are regularly involved in forced labor. As Kara (2017) remarks, the constantly increasing number of children are trafficked every year for forced labor in cotton fields. This fact should not be left aside, and the task of all the modern governments is to help the society to cope with this problem and take all possible measures to eradicate the remnants of the past in the form of slavery. It is not excluded that the help of ordinary citizens can also be useful for solving the issue. Therefore, real methods of influencing the current situation should be developed and implemented in the shortest possible time to achieve freedom for all forcibly retained people and ensure equal rights for everyone.

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It appears that the majority of modern slaves are forced to work by financial situations that they are involved in at the present moment. It is necessary to mention that almost all slaves remain under permanent risk of living shorter lives than their peers in other countries. Health conditions of slaves (especially, prostitutes and children) are adverse.

Possible Solutions to the Problem

It is best to begin work on eradicating modern slavery from strengthening the educational base for children who are also at risk of forced labor. In case a sufficient number of schools are built in those areas that are potentially dangerous, children will be involved in studies and, therefore, will not be exploited by slavers. According to Kara (2017), access to education for all children, especially for those from low-income families, is a crucial element in the prevention of trafficking.

Another way of fighting, which all governments can resort to, is to help families with low social status since, as a rule, members of this particular layer of society most often become free labor for criminals. According to Palmbach, Blom, Hoynes, Primorac, and Gaboury (2014), more than 500,000 individuals, about 21 percent of the population, are currently in slavery with most of them under debt bondage (p. 3). If the relevant authorities help low-income families to cope with their difficulties and, for example, provide permanent work, it will make a very significant contribution to solving the problem of slavery. Otherwise, the problem will not disappear but will become even more global as, judging by the trend, the number of people suffering from forcible retention is growing.

One of the reasons why free people become enslaved is the corrupt government of their country. Some citizens of poor states are either sold to businessmen who do not pay them a cent, either do not have appropriate conditions in their regions to receive worthy salaries for their labor. The issue can be eliminated by reelecting present politicians and revising laws that display minimal income rates in a certain territory. Another sound solution to the problem can be initiated by the United States of America. The country’s government can order all the transnational companies (such as Coca-Cola, Nike, and so on) to stop exploiting the labor of people from poor regions of the planet. Instead, they can build factories in the USA and hire local citizens.

As the majority of modern slaves are children (because they have more energy to work), there is another measure that every person in the world can engage in to free the teenagers from the hard work they do for miserable payments. This method implies reviewing the list of companies that allocate their labor needs among people from poor states and stop buying the products they issue (Bezemer, Bolt, & Lensink, 2014). For instance, when one sees a piece of clothing or food delivered by one of the companies mentioned above, this consumer can purchase alternative products of other local brands that do not exploit the labor of developing countries’ citizens.

Indeed, there are many different solutions to the problem of slavery in the modern world. Citizens of developed countries are encouraged to support slaves by investing their financial means inappropriate funds that are intended to free individuals from the hard work they do regularly to enrich their superiors or even owners. Also, regular Americans can organize a protest action against slavery in their country to ask their politicians to help the enslaved.

Despite all the measures described above, it is necessary to understand that contemporary slaves are victims of tyranny. Therefore, freedom is hard to achieve. Usually, slaveholders will not agree to lower their incomes because of other people’s interests. Unfortunately, various manifestations of slavery are likely to be present in modern societies permanently. Nowadays, there are many methods that illegal businessmen use to transfer or control their workers via the Internet. These transactions cannot be controlled even by government workers as the payments in what is called darknet are anonymous, and hence cannot be tracked under any circumstances. In this instance, there is not much even politicians can do. Therefore, the minds of people who force children or adults to work for them for free must change and become fair to other individuals’ lives.

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Additional Measures

Specific interventions can be carried out not only by the authorities but also by ordinary citizens. As Paz-Fuchs (2016) notes, there are certain badges of slavery, watching which, it is possible to determine whether a person is forcibly held or not. For example, haggard appearance, the lack of permanent residence, and other factors are indicators of the fact that a person can be used as free labor. Timely response to such cases can help to identify victims of slavery faster and help them.

Also, some volunteer units can be organized to educate the population about the current issue and find people who have fallen into such a problem. If the society is interested in stopping such a remnant of the past as slavery quickly, joint actions will surely produce a positive effect. Indifference to this issue, on the contrary, will slow down the fight and significantly complicate the identification of all the possible causes of slavery. Therefore, the interaction of the authorities and ordinary citizens can be useful and effective enough in dealing with the problem.


Thus, the relevance of the problem of slavery is statistically confirmed, and certain measures and interventions can help society to stop this danger. The use of free labor in modern society is unacceptable, and governments should do everything possible to resolve the issue. Protecting children and providing jobs to those in need can be of real help. Voluntary units can help the authorities to find people who are the victims of slavery and assist them in disposing of forcible detention. Indifference to the problem will significantly slow down the decision process and will not give a chance to correct the current situation.


Bezemer, D., Bolt, J., & Lensink, R. (2014). Slavery, statehood, and economic development in sub-Saharan Africa. World Development, 57(1), 148-163. Web.

Burke, J. (Photographer). (2015). Bangladesh garment workers suffer poor conditions two years after reform vows [photograph]. Dhaka, BD: The Guardian.

Elrod, J. (2015). Filling the gap: Refining sex trafficking legislation to address the problem of pimping. Vanderbilt Law Review, 68(3), 961-996.

Kara, S. (2017). Perspectives on human trafficking and modern forms of slavery. Social Inclusion, 5(2), 1-2.

Lund-Thomsen, P., Lindgreen, A., & Vanhamme, J. (2014). Industrial clusters and corporate social responsibility in developing countries: What we know, what we do not know, and what we need to know. Journal of Business Ethics, 133(1), 9-24. Web.

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Palmbach, T., Blom, J., Hoynes, E., Primorac, D., & Gaboury, M. (2014). Utilizing DNA analysis to combat the world wide plague of present day slavery–trafficking in persons. Croatian Medical Journal, 55(1), 3-9.

Paz-Fuchs, A. (2016). Badges of modern slavery. The Modern Law Review, 79(5), 757-785.

Rezaeian, M. (2016). The emerging epidemiology of human trafficking and modern slavery. The Middle East Journal of Business, 11(3), 32-36.

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