Modern Slavery

Slaves of the Present Day

If everyone had an indestructible proof of their identity, then it could help to fight slavery.

Many people believe that slavery is a thing of the past, a vicious practice that was abolished years ago. But that couldn’t be further from the truth, there are more slaves in the world today than there has ever been.

Victims of slavery are all over the world, but because they are trapped behind closed doors they remain an invisible part of society.

The victims are also hidden by their lack of identity. Slaves can’t be counted or freed if they have no identification documents to show they exist. Slave owners use this to their advantage, they take the slave’s ID documents and destroy them so they can never be found.

But it’s not just adults that are forced into slavery, children are more vulnerable which makes them an easier target for modern slavery. They are often sold by their families, or lured in through scams and false pretenses. And once they get involved in the slave trade, most children never escape.

A common form of child slavery is the Kamlari/Kamaiya issue, where families sell their daughters as child slaves to pay off their debts. Over the last decade 12,000 Kamlari’s have been freed as the government tries to abolish the practice. But now the system is working in secret, and it is estimated that 500-1,000 Kamlari’s remain in captivity.

Alexandra's Story

Alexandra is a ballet dancer and choreographer from Odessa, Ukraine. Dancing helps her express the heavy feelings and fears she has for her child’s future.

She faced a reality she never imagined. The sound of war was not just distant news; it became a part of her life, a threat to her and her daughter's existence. With a heavy heart, Alexandra made the difficult decision to flee, seeking refuge in the neighboring country of Moldova.

Alexandra's journey was not just a physical one; it was laden with emotional turmoil and a fierce protective instinct for her daughter. She faced a significant dilemma regarding her daughter's safety. In a world where digital technology could be a double-edged sword, Alexandra chose not to register her daughter's fingerprints, wary of the potential risks. Her decision stemmed from deep-seated fears of identity theft and the alarming news about human trafficking, especially children.

This cautious approach highlighted Alexandra's mistrust of an identity system that was supposed to offer protection. Her reluctance was a stark contrast to the norm, a reflection of the unease and uncertainty that many refugees feel. She grappled with the horrifying possibility of her child's disappearance or identity misuse, fears that are unfortunately grounded in the harsh realities of conflict zones.

Yana's Story

In the early days of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Yana, a ceramicist and spiritual practitioner, and mother imbued with resilience, faced an urgent decision. Her home, once a haven of normalcy, was now shadowed by the threat of war.

Acting swiftly, Yana gathered the most essential items: her children's birth certificates and her biometric passport. Understanding the perils of travel in such tumultuous times, she attached her biometric details to her children's photographs, effectively creating makeshift passports for them. This act intertwined her identity with theirs, ensuring they remained a united front against the bureaucratic hurdles ahead.

Their journey, fraught with uncertainty, was eased by Ukraine's neighbors opening their borders to Ukrainian refugees. The bureaucratic processes, often a maze of complexity, became simpler, reflecting perhaps an understanding of the urgency and gravity of the situation. This easing in border security allowed Yana to focus on her children's safety, navigating through the chaos while protecting her family’s identity.

Yana's story, set against the backdrop of a nation in turmoil, is a poignant reminder of the strength and quick thinking often required in times of crisis. It illustrates a mother's deep resolve to protect her children, transforming her love into a powerful force amidst the chaos of war.