Extreme weather events in India made women, children more vulnerable to modern slavery

Climate change-induced extreme weather events put women, children and minorities at risk of modern slavery and human trafficking. The phenomenon is on the rise in India, among other countries, warned the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and Anti-Slavery International in a recent report.

Modern slavery — including debt bondage, bonded labour, early / forced marriage and human trafficking — converge with climate change, particularly climate shocks and climate-related forced displacement and migration, the report said.

The report observed what happened in Sundarbans, for instance.

The delta region is characterised by intense, recurrent and sudden onset disasters, as well as slow onset ecological degradation making large areas uninhabitable. Rising sea

— source downtoearth.org.in | Kiran Pandey | 21 Sep 2021

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Climate crisis leaving ‘millions at risk of trafficking and slavery’

Researchers from the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and Anti-Slavery International found that drought in northern Ghana had led young men and women to migrate to major cities. Many women begin working as porters and are at risk of trafficking, sexual exploitation and debt bondage – a form of modern slavery in which workers are trapped in work and exploited to pay off a huge debt. In the Sundarbans, on the border between India and Bangladesh, severe cyclones have caused flooding in the delta, reducing the land available for farming. Extreme weather events contribute to environmental destruction, forcing people to leave their homes and leaving them vulnerable to trafficking, exploitation and slavery.

— source theguardian.com | 20 Sep 2021

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Fruits, vegetables sold in U.S. are products of forced labor

A new study in Nature Food calls attention to the need for better systems to track forced labor in food supply chains. The study — a methodological advance — reports on the development of a new scoring system that identifies the risk of forced labor for fruits and vegetables sold in the United States. It finds a high risk of forced labor, but also scattered and incomplete data sources that limit action. Forced labor in agriculture is a threat to the sustainability of food systems.

— source Tufts University | Aug 23, 2021

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Constitutional Loophole That Allows Forced Labor in Prisons

Abolition Amendment that was reintroduced after President Biden signed legislation this month to create a federal holiday commemorating June 19th as Juneteenth, the day in 1865 when enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, learned of their freedom more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Some human rights advocates say Juneteenth didn’t actually mark the end of slavery in the United States, because of a clause in the 13th Amendment that bans the enslavement of people with the exception of involuntary servitude as punishment for being convicted of a crime. Now Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley and Georgia Congressmember Nikema Williams have reintroduced legislation to amend the 13th Amendment.

I think we need to look at exactly where we are in our country right now. We’re in a period of reckoning with our country’s history. Just yesterday on the House floor, we voted to remove statues of people who voluntarily served the Confederacy in this country. We saw what happened on January 6th. We came together as a country and voted in a very bipartisan — because people like to use that word so much — bipartisan fashion to make Juneteenth a federal holiday. But yet we still have our country’s founding document; our Constitution has an exception for slavery. And the history of this country is marked with racism and white supremacy and oppression, and it’s up to us to do something about it.

So, eliminating the loophole in the 13th Amendment, that still allows for slavery if people have been convicted of a crime, is one way to continue to move forward with addressing the problems of our past and building for the future. I think I hear a lot people say, “But it’s not really happening, and there’s no slavery, like, really happening in the country.” Then what’s the problem with removing it, Amy? What I know and what I’ve seen from history is, some laws are put on the books and some things are in place just so that they can be used in certain instances, for certain people.

— source democracynow.org | Jun 30, 2021

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Abolition Amendment to Scrap US Constitution’s ‘Slavery Clause’

Backed by a coalition of dozens of human rights organizations, Democratic lawmakers on Friday reintroduced legislation to do away with the constitutional loophole which has allowed forced labor to persist in the United States for more than 150 years—the 13th Amendment.

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Rep. Nikema Williams (D-Ga.) led two dozen of their colleagues in introducing the Abolition Amendment, which would strike the “slavery clause” from the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Adopted in January 1865, the amendment bans enslavement in the U.S., except as a form of punishment for criminal activity.

— source commondreams.org | Julia Conley | Jun 18, 2021

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Juneteenth and the Second American Revolution

Last Thursday, US President Joe Biden signed legislation establishing June 19, “Juneteenth,” as a federal holiday to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States. The law, passed with overwhelming support from both capitalist parties, went into effect immediately. The holiday was first officially marked on Friday, since June 19 itself came on a weekend.

The final emancipation of slaves, the culmination of the Civil War—what historians have aptly called the Second American Revolution—cost the lives of more than 350,000 Union soldiers. The destruction of the slave oligarchy in the US South was an event of immensely progressive significance, not just for American, but for world history.

Emancipation Day celebration in Richmond, Virginia, ca. 1905.(Image Credit: Wikipedia/Public Domain)

Amidst the endless media commentary on the official marking of the holiday, however, there is no serious historical examination, either of the emancipation of the slaves in 1865 or its revolutionary implications for the present.

— source wsws.org | Trévon Austin, Tom Mackaman | 20 Jun 2021

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American companies are still profiting from slavery

Juneteenth marks the date in 1865 where an estimated 250,000 enslaved people in Texas were freed, marking the official end of slavery in the Confederacy – two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, and six months before the 13th Amendment to the Constitution finally banned slavery nationwide.

As much as Juneteenth is worthy of celebration, liberation is not complete. In our work, the most egregious and direct manifestation of that delayed justice is that American companies and institutions are continuing to drive slavery today at scale. The Emancipation Proclamation may have made it to Texas in 1865, but some companies are acting today as if it still doesn’t apply in their corporate suites. And on Wednesday, those companies got a free pass from the Supreme Court to continue the profit from slavery.

There is probably no company that better symbolizes continued complicity with slavery than Cargill, America’s largest privately-held company and the world’s largest agribusiness. Cargill isn’t a household name, but it’s bigger than even Koch industries, and sits astride much of America and the world’s food system.

— source news.mongabay.com | Samuel Mawutor | 18 Jun 2021

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What Is Juneteenth, How Is It Celebrated, and Why Does It Matter?

Juneteenth is a special celebration on June 19th that commemorates the end of the United States’ historic practice of slavery. In this sense, Juneteenth is a day for honoring the “freedom” of all people living in the United States.

Whether you grew up celebrating Juneteenth or have never heard of it, here’s what you need to know about Juneteenth’s meaning, how the holiday came to be and why it matters to so many people.
Juneteenth history

Many people think of President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation (issued on January 1, 1863) as the official end of slavery. And while that’s not entirely untrue, many African descendants remained enslaved for several years after the proclamation was made. That’s because Lincoln’s decree was primarily intended to preserve the Union rather than to abolish slavery.

In an open letter to Horace Greeley, the editor of the New York Tribune, Lincoln stated, “My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or destroy Slavery.”

“If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it, and if I could save it by

— source teenvogue.com | Jameelah Nasheed | Jun 10, 2021

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US High Court Sides With Corporate Giants in Child Slavery Case

Human rights advocates Thursday denounced a Supreme Court decision in favor of the U.S. corporate giants Nestlé USA and Cargill, which were sued more than a decade ago by six men who say the two companies were complicit in child trafficking and profited when the men were enslaved on cocoa farms as children. The Supreme Court ruled 8-1 against the plaintiffs, saying they had not proven the companies’ activities in the U.S. were sufficiently tied to the alleged child trafficking. The companies had argued that they could not be sued in the U.S. for activities that took place in West Africa. The U.S. Department of Labor recently reported that the use of child labor on family farms in cocoa-growing areas of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana increased from 31 percent to 45 percent between 2008 and 2019.

— source commondreams.org | Jun 17, 2021

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