Modern Slavery

Modern Slavery emerges primarily through the exploitation fueled by threats, violence, deception, coercion, and the misuse of power, stripping victims of basic control to refuse or escape their predicaments. The intricate manifestations of modern slavery are intricately linked to societal pressures, including the desire for universal approval. These forms include forced labor, forced child labor (such as begging), bonded labor, debt bondage, sex trafficking for both adults and children, domestic servitude, withheld wages, and involvement of middlemen or brokers, including owners and landowners.

In regions of Pakistan, specifically lower Sindh, Southern Punjab, and KP, the grip of modern slavery is pronounced. Individuals from such victimized backgrounds often exhibit hesitancy to engage with others, avoid eye contact, and display non-supportive verbal communication.

Women farmers, facing heightened vulnerability, bear the brunt. As per a 2018 UN Women report, 60 percent of women’s agricultural work in Pakistan goes unpaid. Women play a significant role in cotton picking, contributing to Pakistan’s status as the world’s fourth-largest cotton producer. However, the lucrative textile industry benefits from their labor under unsafe conditions, earning them “slave wages,” as described by a local lawyer and activist advocating for cotton farmers’ rights in Sindh. The 2022 floods exacerbated their plight, destroying Sindh’s cotton belt and further hindering these women’s ability to repay their debts.

Despite the recent International Monetary Fund bailout, stakeholders argue that Pakistan is a fitting candidate for debt relief or restructuring, positioning it as a form of reparation from the Global North to nations in the Global South most impacted by global warming.

However, a much grimmer connection between climate and debt surfaces in the country’s most disaster-prone regions. This unveils a pressing modern slavery issue that demands immediate attention, prompting a reevaluation of the broader dynamics and responsibilities related to global warming.

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