By YKA Staff:
We grew up detesting Colonialism and the harsh treatment the colonial ‘masters’ meted out to Indians and people in other South Asian and African countries. When we watched films about the American Civil War like ‘Glory‘ and the more recent ‘Lincoln‘, we learned to root for the blue-uniformed soldiers fighting for the Union against the Confederacy in grey who wanted to hold on to ‘their’ slaves. But as we grew up a little more, we realised that things are not as simple as that – that slavery did not end in the 19th century. People are still forced to work against their will.
According to estimates by the International Labour Organisation, nearly 21 million people worldwide are “trapped in jobs into which they were coerced or deceived and which they cannot leave.”
And it turns out that forced labour generates illegal annual profits of about US $150 billion!
While few countries can claim to not be guilty of forced labour within their borders, one place which is often singled out is Saudi Arabia, and not without good reason. Collectively, the Middle East has about 600,000 workers who are trapped in such situations. In Saudi Arabia, over 50% of the labour is migrant labour, stories of whose abuse are pretty common.
Though Saudi Arabia ratified ILO conventions like the Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29), and the Abolition of Forced Labour Convention, 1957 (No. 105) in 1978 and passed a new labour law, many migrant workers are forced to work under inhumane conditions.
This short animated video offers a subjective view of this dire situation.