Slavery never ended. It just took other forms. Today it's the impoverished 7-year-old boy in Ghana whose mother can't afford school fees. In her desperation, she allows a stranger to take him far away in order to attend school, only to learn that her son was sold into slavery on a fishing boat. It's the girl in a remote village in India who swings a pickaxe taller than she is to mine the mineral that makes our cosmetics sparkle. It's the poor Cambodian man who tries to provide for his family by taking a job on a fishing boat, but is violently forced to work for 20 hours per day with no pay, and doesn't return for 7 years.
Slavery doesn't just happen over there or back then. It's woven into our lives here and now. We believe there's power to end it for the first time in history, but it's going to take all of us.
Slavery is when someone is deceived or coerced into a situation they didn't agree to for someone else's profit. Victims are forced to work under the threat of violence for little or no pay. They are prevented from walking away. Today over 29 million people live under these conditions. While many are forced into the sex industry, the majority is exploited for manual economic labor in the private sector.
They mine, pick, fish, build, clean, sew, and their bodies are not their own. Criminals are acting with impunity in illicit labor black markets around the world.
This is a problem, which means we can work to solve it. For the first time in history we have two strategic leverage points: the globalization of the marketplace and the widespread illegality of slavery.
This isn't a fair fight. Each year, roughly $120 million of funding is provided to address slavery, but estimated profit from slavery is $150 billion a year. We need to find new ways to disrupt illicit slavery markets.
Criminals who profit from slavery are committed to protecting their investments and are constantly innovating. This challenge needs to become a priority at the highest levels of business and government.
What has the power to defeat slavery? The marketplace. There is over $88 trillion spent every year on the procurement of goods, services, and commodities. Now that's a number we can get excited about.
We've all heard the phrase 'perfect is the enemy of good'. We all want a free world, but it's going to take time.
Our effort requires us to think differently about progress. Its impossible to expect earth's oldest oppression to be eradicated immediately.
Every life protected is a step towards our ultimate goal of a free world. We celebrate any individual, organization, business, and politician who makes it a priority to build a FREE WORLD with us.