There are four main threats to all farmers. The first being drought, a severe drought can have drastic impacts on crops. The second is flooding, floods can drown crops or wash them away, or even make it impossible to get livestock and crops to market. The third is fire, devastating feed for animals and burning crops. The fourth is disease, disease that strikes animals as well as crops. Drought is a factor in disease, a lack of water for animals and crops stresses them, making them more prone to contracting diseases.
In 2002 Alberta suffered a very serious drought. Because many people lacked feed and water and sold off their herds, the market was flooded (causing the price drop). Beef was near worthless, the price of grain also dropped. During this time many farmers suffered, however because this happened in Alberta measures here put in place to smooth over the affects.
In Alberta many farmers left for jobs in the oil field, or construction sectors. But what if this had happened in an already poor nation, a nation where there were no other jobs? The hungrier a person gets, the more desperate they become. When a daughter of farmer in Moldova with no prospects, is offered a job as a waitress in Italy, how can she refuse? Unbeknown to her she will be sold as a sex slave when she arrives.
In China desertification is pushing people off the land into the city’s, in Africa for many years people have suffered from crippling droughts, all of these situations create desperate people. Natural disasters also create opportunity for human traffickers, earthquakes, hurricanes and typhoons all increase the availability of desperate people to become victims of trafficking.
Rising sea levels will displace an ever increasing number of people from fertile low coastal areas, adding to the increasing number of desperate and destitute people, whom slave traffickers can easily take advantage of. What, if anything can be done to stop this abuse of human rights? As long as drought severity continues to increase, floods become more and more devastating and wildfires burn out of control, the future seems dismal.
Shared Hope International and International Justice Mission (IJM), are working hard on the ground to help victims of slavery. But what can average citizens do? We can start by decreasing our ecological footprint, by reducing our consumption, reusing and recycling. By educating ourselves as how best to avoid slave made products, avoiding slave made products is hard, but reasonably possible.
The world is a shrinking place, where it is harder and harder to avoid the realities faced in the day to day struggle for survival. The climate is changing and our resources and farm land diminishing, displacing many millions of people, and by doing so making more people vulnerable to slavery.