More slaves are living among us than ever

On the first of May in Hungary we are celebrating with beer and sausage that we can work under more or less fair conditions: theoretically eight hours a day with social security, paid leave and the promise of pension. Such working rights and conditions are provided for most of this article’s readers which our ancestors couldn’t dream of a 150 years ago. But if we look around a bit more we can see that many people are still not free. While slavery is illegal in every country there have never been so many slaves on the Earth as today. 

The Global Slavery Index shows that 36 million slaves are living on the Earth of which 36 thousand are in Hungary. The situation is only worse in Bulgaria and the Czech Republic within the EU. The most common groups among slaves are those who suffer from discrimination and have little chance enforcing their interests: children, older people, women, minorities. But middle-class young people can also be trapped by trafficking if they decide to work abroad for example and sign a contract aiming to exploit the worker to the extremes. Some people are living among us as bonded labourers, domestic or contracted slaves, while others loose their freedom because of sexual exploitation. Some people are born into it and others become slaves during their lives.

In order to prevent people around us or even ourselves becoming slaves, to notice such cases and to act against them, the first step is to accept that slaves do exist and by no means have they disappeared since human rights are officially acknowledged. Teachers and professional helpers also may have to deal with cases that they have no means to handle or even to recognize. The Modern slavery training guide by Anthropolis Association explores the theoretical and practical aspects of the problem. The book provides essential tools and information for professionals who can help trigger changes in the field through their everyday work. It is hard to celebrate our rights with a good taste in the mouth until there are people living as slaves among us...