Are we slaves to consumption

Modern exploitation Slavery 2.0


Slavery is no longer an issue in 2018! Unfortunately it is false. Worldwide, more people toil than ever before as modern slaves, often under terrible conditions. Something can and must change in that.

From: Miriam Harner

Status: 23.08.2018

Most of us think of slavery as heavy chains, lashes, and forced labor on cotton plantations. In other words, something that no longer has anything to do with our modern world. But: there is still human trafficking and forced labor, more than ever before! In 2016, according to estimates by the Global Slavery Index, over 40 million people around the world had to plow against their will - even though slavery is actually officially banned in every country in the world.

Products from slave hands can be found everywhere in our everyday lives: in our smartphones, our T-shirts or our morning coffee. And now hold on tight: each of us has an average of 60 slaves - indirect, of course. At everyone can calculate how many personal slaves have to work for their consumption. The main problem is often the supply chains. Many producers do not pay attention to where the cotton for their shirts, the coffee beans in the latte macchiato or the metals in their smartphones come from.

Poverty turns people into slaves

As is so often the case, the cause of these crimes against human dignity is poverty. People in developing countries like Pakistan or Cambodia often have to go into debt for things that we can simply pay out of the postage. For example, if someone in the family gets sick and needs a certain drug, it often costs a fortune by local standards.

Let's assume that people borrow 20 euros, so from our perspective not a lot of money: That's enough to set a true vicious circle in motion, says Dietmar Roller from the human rights organization International Justice Mission.

"Then it says: Okay, you can't pay the money back, but you can work it off. And then these people come somewhere in a pre-production of textiles, in a quarry or in leather production. They should have everything done in three weeks, But then there is so much money on it for accommodation, food and transport that in the end they have more debts than before. "

Dietmar Roller from

There are therefore cases in which entire families are enslaved in the third generation because of a ridiculous 20 euros.

Anyone who thinks now: I don't care, sounds like a classic third world problem, is very wrong. Because, according to the Global Slavery Index, there are almost 170,000 modern slaves in Germany. These are mainly women from Eastern Europe and Russia who are being forced into prostitution, says Dietmar Roller.

"We have a very liberal law on prostitution here in Germany and we have a lot of people who work in prostitution. But 80% of women in Germany come from abroad and a large number of them are not here voluntarily."

Dietmar Roller

As is so often the case, the question "What to do?" Arises. Sure, we cannot save women from forced prostitution. But there are other ways we can do our part to put an end to the worldwide slave trade:

Buy fair trade clothes and ask where the products come from. Instead of the new iPhone or Samsung cell phone, you could buy a FairPhone, for example. That sounds very banal and it actually is - now we just have to act on it. Because people are not a commodity.

Broadcast: Filter from August 23, 2018 - from 3 p.m.