The third largest criminal activity in the world is human trafficking or bluntly, modern slavery.Twenty-two million to Thirty-eight million people in the world are victims of slavery–involuntary servitude. The Indian and Pakistan are two states where literally more than a million people in each country are victims. Russia, Angola, and the Congo are among other states where slavery is not only common but rampant. In the United States an estimated 60,000 men, women and children are victims of slavery. Only one state in the world has failed to outlaw slavery–North Korea, but despite the laws slavery remains quite alive as a criminal enterprise involving forced labor, forced prostitution and sexual exploitation, agricultural labor, industrial labor, and child labor. More than half of the estimated total number of slaves in the world are women and children. The International Labor Organization conducts regular tests to monitor the extent of slavery in the world. While the numbers of people exploited has steadily grown with globalization virtually no understanding appears to have been developed about who is actually being enslaved other than the broad data of gender, geography and types of slavery.
The Center for World Indigenous Studies will begin to investigate the extent to which Fourth World peoples are the actual victims of slavery around the world. No actual data has been developed to indicate the vulnerability of Fourth World peoples and the extent to which criminal enterprises have literally swept up people from remote nations and in cosmopolitan countries such as Mexico, United States of America and Australia. It is our suspicion that the 22 – 38 million number is smaller than the reality. And, if these numbers are actually born out then in all probability Fourth World men, women and children will make up the bulk of the estimated slaves.
During the 15th to the twentieth centuries European countries and many African Kingdoms were responsible for facilitating the enslavement of as many as 16 million people from communities all along the east coast (mainly Arabic slave trade) and west coast of Africa. These were the original peoples of Africa…vulnerable and unable to defend against the criminal enterprise. Modern slavery may well be following the same pattern as before…it is time to disaggregate the data to find out which nations are being affected and what might be the remedy to the crimes committed. It is time to find out.
The Center for World Indigenous Studies will seek out collaborating institutions in an effort to begin this important research. Watch this space.
The library is dedicated to the memory of Secwepemc Chief George Manuel (1921-1989), to the nations of the Fourth World and to the elders and generations to come.access here