There are an estimated 1,302 people living in slavery in Swaziland, according to a report just published.
But, its authors think this number could be a ‘gross underestimate’ because it only refers to known cases.
The report called the Global Slavery Index 2013 and published by the Walk Free Foundation states, ‘Modern slavery includes slavery, slavery-like practices (such as debt bondage, forced marriage, and sale or exploitation of children), human trafficking and forced labour.’
Swaziland ranks at number 126 among 162 countries in the world for slavery. The report estimates there are 29.8 million people in modern slavery across the world.
Looking at the global situation, the report states some victims are captured or kidnapped before being sold or kept for exploitation, whether through ‘marriage’, unpaid labour, or as domestic workers.
‘Others are tricked and lured into situations they cannot escape, with false promises of a good job or an education.’
The report states, ‘The chains of modern slavery are not always physical – sometimes escalating debts, intimidation, deception, isolation, fear or even a “marriage” that is forced on a young woman or girl without her consent can be used to hold a person against their will without the need for locks or chains.
‘Modern slavery is poorly understood, so it remains hidden within houses, communities and worksites.’
It adds, ‘Modern slavery involves an extreme abuse of power, which is not always immediately apparent but requires understanding the people and the relationships involved.’