Just last December 2012, Andrew Forrest, Australia’s richest man and Founder of Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. formed “Walk Free” – an antislavery nonprofit organization which aims to end modern slavery.
It is said that Forrest is set to publish come August 2013 the Global Index of Modern Slavery which ranks the existence and efforts to fight involuntary servitude in 160 countries – inspired and similar to that of the Ibrahim Index of African Governance of Sudan born billionaire and Founder of Celtel, Mo Ibrahim.
But first, what is “modern slavery”? Just as the organization’s focus, examples would be sex trafficking and the miners of conflict minerals. The former is self-explanatory while the latter pertains to “minerals mined in conditions of armed conflict and human rights abuses” like the one in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
While determining the “existence and efforts” to fight involuntary servitude is good, simple measurement is not enough. Walk Free has to get to the roots, and answer the Why. As in, why does modern slavery exist? Then, how can we truly stop it?
Why? Because victims are generally poor and uneducated while predators simply wants to make a quick buck. Conventional solutions would be to educate specially the possible preys, and tighten laws regarding such trading.
Do you think this would be enough? No. Why? Most preys, particularly coming from poor countries, do not get enough opportunities; thus in eagerness, they unknowingly accept a “devilish” scheme to work as this on that place, only to end up in a sex den.
Why? Not only because the workers are poor and uneducated but because those involved in the supply chain only cares about big bucks. Supposed “caretakers” are either bribed or simply ignores the despicable conditions for continued employment. On the other hand, miners just has to bite the bullet.
Again, would just educating them be enough? No. Why? Well, just like sex trafficking, opportunities are scarce specially when you all “come from and wants to work on” the same place.
How do you truly solve these?
- Encourage entrepreneurship? Not everyone desires this path.
- Continuously upgrade skills? When you’re coming from real “drought”, you got no time to further skills to be more marketable but want work asap.
- Closely monitor governments, agencies, and entities involved? You can only go so far.
Real Solution: “Eliminate discrimination” of all forms, and fortify within the subconscious.
Think about it. These problems, generally, point to having the “opportunity to earn a living”. Now, if companies tear down “unnecessary” qualifications, they get better chances at real workers. And without discrimination, there would be real equal employment opportunities wherever one with the “necessary” skills may want to work.
Without discrimination, you totally eliminate if not significantly minimize modern slavery as “then predators” would now take their preys as their own, and be sincerely caring of their welfare.
What’s your take?