What is Forced Labor: Part Seven Forced Labor in the Agriculture, Farming, Fishing, and Food Industry
By Ashlie Bailey
Forced labor is the most common form of human trafficking and affects many areas of life. One of the areas of life that forced labor affects is the food industry. A lot of people are familiar with human trafficking in cocoa farming for chocolate manufacturing, but forced labor has an impact on all kinds of foods from all over the world. Slave labor is used extensively in the fishing industry and those who are exploited in this way are almost all men and boys.
Produce comes from many places. It is not uncommon at all for slaves to be used in agriculture to grow and harvest produce. This impacts migrant workers who are mostly males and are promised payment but never receive it. Not only are these slaves forced into labor unpaid, they are treated badly and forced to work nonstop under dangerous conditions. The same toxic chemicals and pesticides that are used in agriculture end up poisoning the slaves who work to grow the food. Why would we be willing to trust certain foods to be fit for consumption, when it is clear that those who manufacturer it doesn’t care about human life. A food company who has no problem with poisoning slaves would have no problem with allowing the population to be poisoned with their products. Manufacturers who have no ethics can’t be trusted with the responsibility of feeding the public.
Another indicator of whether a food manufacturing company can be trusted or not is how they treat animals. A company that treats animals ethically is also more likely to treat people well. Why would a company who is responsible for treating animals cruelly and keeping them in overcrowded and filthy conditions care about producing food that is healthy? This is why I prefer to find fair trade food whenever possible, or locally, or organically grown and animal cruelty free food.
Making healthy choices in our diet doesn't just impact you it affects the world. Companies that go through the trouble of growing organically grown and cage free food follow ethics. A company who demonstrates ethics such as growing organic food is far less likely to be involved in using slave labor. When you buy products from companies who care you are lessening the demand for slave labor and you are helping to change the world.
By Ashlie Bailey
In a world where the majority of the world's wealth stays in the hands of a handful of men, it should come as no surprise at all that the elite have been exploiting women and the poor since the beginning of time. It is one thing when a trafficker forces someone into slavery. It is an entirely different monster when a government or military forces someone into slavery and it still happens all of the time. To some, it may sound like a conspiracy theory but it is the truth.
We mainly think of this occurring in other countries but it can happen in the United States too. Since governments get their funds from taxpayers, that can mean that taxpayers have the ability to influence the government. Giving citizens some control over what goes on in government can be a good thing if the citizens have good intentions. But what happens when a particular candidate is funded by powerful and wealthy people who have an agenda? That agenda can make its way into government policies.
In the United States especially; candidates are funded by wealthy people who run corporations. In a way, because of this, the United States government itself has begun to function and look more and more like a corporation. For instance, most Republican candidates are in support of free trade. Could this be because they are funded by businessmen who use slave labor in their manufacturing? I think that the wealthy businessmen who fund candidates wouldn’t be very happy if candidates didn’t support policies that keep the corporations making money.
The truth is that businesses make more money if they can rely on slave labor. The demand for slave labor and the supply for it are high. When businesses use slave labor they may make more money but they are not only hurting the slaves; they are hurting America. They are promoting corruption and causing there to be fewer jobs available here. Most people know that retail stores in the United States sell slave made products yet they don’t seem to have very much of a problem with retailers who do business this way. Taxpayers need to demand that retailers sell fair trade products. This will lessen the demand for labor trafficking not only in the United States but it will lessen the demand for slave labor all over the world.
Citizens need to hold governments accountable and governments should hold businesses accountable. Where there is no accountability there is corruption. Corruption in government and corporations is what makes labor trafficking possible. If there were solid accountability than trafficking would occur far less often.
By Ashlie Bailey
People think of organ trafficking as a myth or as something that only happens overseas. In reality, it can happen anywhere. It isn’t that shocking that organ trafficking happens in places like China or that in the Chinese prison system some inmates are forced to donate their organs without consent. In other countries, poverty is what drives organ trafficking. This form of trafficking impacts men. Men and women are promised payment for their body parts. Victims of this crime end up severely wounded and many times the promise for payment is broken.
What is shocking to Americans is that organ trafficking can even happen in the United States. Everyone has heard the news about body parts harvesting in the abortion industry. While most organ trafficking happens in other countries the United States is vulnerable. The main reason why isn’t because of the abortion industry. What makes the United States vulnerable is that the Organ and Body Part Harvesting system here has become a for profit making industry that is barely regulated and highly flawed.
In the United States, it is legal for everyone involved in the body parts harvesting industry to get paid except for those who donate their organs. People think they are donating body parts when the reality is that they are giving away body parts so that corporations can sell them to doctors, hospitals, and clinics who sell expensive surgery to the patients. None of the body parts are actually really donated and the majority of the parts are used in unnecessary super expensive cosmetic surgeries. This industry exists to make money. Some corporations in the United States even accept unidentified body parts that come from other countries. Corporations that sell body parts aren’t even required to use barcodes. Some corporations don’t even show any identification indicating the exact source of the parts. They become untraceable. This is dangerous and unacceptable
Where ever there is a demand for body parts organ trafficking can happen. Most people think that the demand for body parts is only for transplants and research but the truth is that there are other more sinister reasons for the trafficking of body parts. Even in the United States body parts can be used for other purposes than for transplants. This is where organ trafficking and sex trafficking overlap. One of the horrors of underground trafficking rings is that there is a growing demand for the illegal use of body parts in gonzo pornography, snuff films, and religious cults. And I know for sure it isn’t just a rumor. Not only does this affect the people who have had their body parts harvested; it is a whole world of horrific trauma for everyone who is exposed to it. This must come to an end.
In the whole world, there is hardly any treatment or aftercare available for victims of organ trafficking. Not only do those who have become victims of organ harvesting need treatment and aftercare; everyone who is exposed to it in any way including those who were exposed through violent pornography needs treatment for trauma.
By Ashlie Bailey
We typically think of child soldiers as existing only in faraway places under extreme circumstances if we even believe it exists at all. The reality is that anywhere in the world where there is government corruption, it is possible for children to be used in war. The roles that slaves are expected to serve as in wars is diverse. This form of trafficking affects boys more than any other group.
Children can be forced into labor serving soldiers, or they can be forced to become soldiers themselves, and are likely to get killed. Forced labor in farming and agriculture can take place as a result of war when a government forces farmers to give up their land and crops to feed the military. Sex trafficking can take place as a result of war when a government provides prostitutes for men in the military. This happened in Japan during World War Two.
This is not just a thing of the past. Trafficking by military continues to take place all over the world today. It is far worse than the type of trafficking that regular human traffickers perpetrate because it is governments who are doing the trafficking which means the chances for help or escape are far less likely. To the kids, this may seem like an opportunity at first. They are brainwashed into believing that they are meant for this role.
This is a whole-nother type of evil because it puts children at risk of encountering military torture and being killed. Even worse than being killed is the chance that a child soldier will be captured or imprisoned by an enemy that will not hesitate to inflict the worst kind of torture on them and their families. The type of trauma that this can cause is unfathomable.
Killings can serve as the first required initiation task in their training. It is not unusual for corrupt military men to also be into other illegal activities. The kids are conditioned to not only fight but are used as spies, sex slaves, and drug mules. Some of them may be forced to act as assassins not only in war, but they may be forced to assassinate the competition in the drug trade.
The trafficking of boys is less known than the trafficking of other groups. Trafficking of boys in wars is far too common to keep silent on this issue. Governments need to be held accountable. Peace needs to be worked towards. It is only with peace that the demand for child soldiers will be solved.
By Ashlie Bailey
Domestic servitude is a type of labor trafficking that in the United States mostly takes place in businesses and the home. Domestic Servitude mostly affects vulnerable and poor people who belong to one or more minority group. To the outside world, they look like ordinary employees working in ordinary businesses and homes but they are being exploited behind the scenes and many of them aren't even aware that they are being mistreated. This can affect both women and men. Victims of domestic servitude are normally recruited through a job offer that is too good to be true.
The vulnerable and poor are affected more because they are more likely to go to desperate measures to find any kind of employment. Once they are promised a job, the traffickers require them to travel to unfamiliar places and usually hide their documentation and identification. Victims of domestic servitude don’t run away because they may have been threatened with deportation, don’t know English, and fear ending up in a worse situation. They know if they disobey, their trafficker will punish them with physical abuse or by taking away what little earnings they have. This is called debt bondage.
Some of the most common areas that victims of domestic servitude work are as maids, servants, and as brides for sale in a forced marriage. Maids and servants work in homes under difficult conditions or you may find them working in hotels. In the United States, both survivors of sex trafficking and survivors of labor trafficking end up working in hotels.
Another area where both labor trafficking and sex trafficking overlap is when a child bride or a bride for sale is forced into an unwanted marriage. We typically refer to this as a type of sex trafficking but it is more than that. It is also labor trafficking because usually these young brides are not only forced into an unwanted sexual relationship; they are also expected to perform the exact same kind of work as a maid or servant in domestic servitude. Their husband becomes both the client and the trafficker at the same time. When I first wrote this article, underage marriage was allowed in all fifty states under special circumstances. Recently, this has begun to change. In some states, it is allowed for a twelve year old to marry a forty year old. Believe it not in the United States, judges allow several cases of child marriage like this to happen each year.
By Ashlie Bailey
Another way that the fashion industry fuels human trafficking is by using slave labor to manufacturer clothing jewelry and accessories. Through the demand for slave made textiles, sweatshops, and the demand for slave mined diamonds, gemstones, and gold; the Fashion Industry also is one of the worlds largest contributors to the problem of labor trafficking and its no secret.
In fact, the majority of all clothing items for sale in retail stores in the United States are made from slave labor. In places like Bangladesh and China, women are locked in dangerous factories or are chained to sewing machines for more than sixteen hours a day for pennies a day if they even get paid anything at all. In the textile making process, women are forced to dip their arms into metal barrels filled with toxic fabric dyes. Their skin becomes permanently stained with the toxic chemicals. The textile industry isn’t just bad for women, it is bad for animals and the environment. The toxic chemicals from textile making end up poisoning the environment. In the leather industry, countless animals are inhumanly tortured and killed. In the silk industry, millions of caterpillars are boiled while they are still alive to harvest their silk.
In the gold and diamond industry slaves, miners are killed because of the dangerous conditions just so that a piece of jewelry can be made. This is why I am passionate about the gradual positive change that the growing popularity of fair trade merchandise is having on reducing the demand for the supply of slave made products in the fashion industry. This is also one of the reasons why I enjoy finding ethically made supplies for my art and jewelry crafting. It is one small way I can make a difference in the world and fashion industry.
To view more of my handcrafted, survivor made art and jewelry go to my Beauty for Ashes Designs> page.
By Ashlie Bailey
The fashion industry is responsible for fueling both the labor trafficking industry and also the sex trafficking industry and is guilty of promoting and perpetrating both. Over the years the fashion industry has begun inventing and promoting revealing sexy clothing on tiny models who are getting younger and younger. It has become more popular than ever for retail stores to sell sexy looking clothing for teens and children. Not only that but many of the young women who have joined or have a desire to join the modeling industry ultimately end up having their bodies exploited.
Young women are asked to pose in sexually provocative poses in barely any clothing for secular magazines. These are the norms of the fashion industry but is it really healthy to normalize the objectification of the young female body. It isn’t when these kinds of experiences become a gateway to the door into a future career in pornography and the commercial sex industry. Young males who view the photos come to expect their peers of the opposite sex to look like the women in the photos. Young females who look at the magazines desire to be like the women in the photos and many of them will resort to drastic and unhealthy measures to obtain a certain appearance. Obtaining that sexy appearance puts girls at a greater risk of being objectified or exploited; which fuels the cycle of the sex industry.
Another way that the fashion industry fuels the human trafficking industry is through modeling and modeling agencies. At best the legitimate modeling agencies only fuel the demand to objectify the woman's body. The other scenario is when a modeling agency coerces a young woman entering the modeling world into gradually moving from softer core photo shoots to posing nude or nearly nude but they don’t know its pornography because the fashion industry tells them it is art.
One of the worst case scenarios is when a corrupt or illegitimate modeling agency introduces an underage girl into performing in pornography. The very worst case scenario is when the agency either introduces the model to a trafficker or when the entire agency is run by a trafficker who is posing as a modeling agent or photographer. This is a combination of both labor trafficking and sex trafficking. The very worst case scenario is far more common than the public is aware of. There is an entire website that exists solely for the purpose of connecting hundreds of aspiring models under the age of eighteen to modeling agents and photographers who haven't been through any kind of screening process or even had a background check. It should come as no surprise then that the site is notorious for traffickers using it to meet young girls.
Read the rest of this article continued on the next post Fashion Industry Part Two>