Did you say ‘Abolition de l’Esclavage’?

Slavery has always existed and being dumb, as always, I didn’t even know it has been abolished.

It is not because those shackles or fetters were broken that it will stop, for there are worse forms of slavery nowadays. In the past, Europeans captured the black people, taking them far away from their homeland to different parts of the world, especially to Madagascar and Africa, making slaves of them. They were ill-treated, beaten, tortured, and no wonder that les ‘esclaves marrons’ tried to escape as soon as an opportunity presented itself. The indentured Indian labourers were perhaps a wee bit better off, for they were not slaves as such. But they worked very hard from dawn to dusk in the cane fields and nothing came on a silver platter.

A few years back, I was watching a documentary on TV, in which the journalist said that in days gone by White men were exploiting the blacks but in some parts of Africa Black masters were making slaves of their own people. Well, seeing was believing.

About 20 years ago, I read about Carefree Children. According to the London based Anti-slavery Society (then) there were at least 200 million children enslaved in the world. They work in factories, farms, in the carpet industry where their tiny hands allow them to weave the most delicate carpets, and in the pornography industry. In the Third World, children are sold, maimed to beg, hired out, given away and worked to death. In Europe, child slaves work mostly in the sex industry – kiddy porn as it’s called.

Writes Roger Sawyer, in the book ‘Children Enslaved’: The physical suffering of children used in the pornographic film industry, in prostitution and in the narcotics trade, make most child labourers of the Third World seem privileged in comparison. In Paris, there are some 8,000 child prostitutes, in the US, stables of boy prostitutes have been found in major cities. Sixty-four US pornographic magazines, specialize in children,’ as reported by Reuters.

All this refers to old statistics.

We must not forget that most of these kids have been kidnapped and made to live like prisoners in dungeons and to be exploited by paedophiles. Can you imagine the atrocity inflicted on an 8-year-old, who is raped or sodomised?

Here we have women who are forced in the sex trade by their partners. Isn’t it another form of slavery? Some are beaten black and blue and forced to sleep with the men, whether they want to or not. Isn’t this slavery too? And if they try to flee, a fate worse than death awaits them for they’ll most likely end up with a knife stuck in their back or acid thrown on them.

The slaves of yore were punished in a different way; the new generation of slaves are punished differently. So in a way, things are not that much better than it was years ago, only the methods have changed. That is what we call ‘développement’, ‘civilisation moderne’. The shackles are still there, albeit invisible.

* Published in print edition on 14 February 2014

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