Environmental degradation and modern slavery

Slavery

English: Halima Nur and her friend Hawa, victi...
English: Halima Nur and her friend Hawa, victims of the drought in Africa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

OP-ED By Kyle Ashmead

Human trafficking and the spread of human slavery in todays  world, can often be linked to environmental degradation and global warming. As  the environment becomes more polluted, dry, and deforested,  people  become  unable to look after their basic needs.

What happens to a victim after International Justice Mission intervenes in their case?

IJM partners with other local organizations and government agencies to ensure that the victims are provided with the care they need in the aftermath of abuse. Examples include:

  • Homes for girls rescued from commercial sexual exploitation when they are unable to return to their families;
  • Micro-enterprise opportunities for adults released from slavery so that they can support themselves;
  • Post-trauma counselling for victims of sexual violence; and
  • Post-incarceration counselling for victims of illegal detention.
Slavery in India in some cases can be linked to environmental  cataclysms, such as drought. When  farmers crops fail they may have to take out  a loan to help feed their families. Once the loan is taken the interest is  increased to a point where it can’t be paid back, then those who took the loan  have to work to pay it off. This can often lead to themselves and their families  serving a life of unpaid servitude to the loan holder.

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.

This opinion article was  written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are  those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of  DigitalJournal.com

Read more:  http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/353472#ixzz2XteqxrUr

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