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Modern Slavery: The Elephant in the Room

May 11th, 2022

A topic often heard of yet still largely misunderstood. Modern slavery exists worldwide and is not just present in developing countries but globally. Often when we talk about modern slavery, a picture is painted of exploitation in factories and farmlands, images that are far removed from the shiny corporate office buildings where a good majority of our usual audience spends their working lives.


When we discuss modern slavery, most become sympathetic to the millions of victims and pledge to support the cause to fight this crime, but still assume that modern slavery is not something that they would ever witness.


But let us ask you this. What would you say if modern slavery could very well exist in the office building that you work in?


While this might seem like an absurd question, take a moment to think about your workday and how this could be remotely possible.


It is easy to take the workers that go far under the radar of our daily office lives for granted. The workers that greet you on your arrival, the people cleaning your office space, and the security guards contracted to help maintain a safe work environment.


These people are often the ones that are hired through external contractors to carry out the low-paying jobs that keep the corporate ecosystem ticking. They may have paid excessive fees to secure their job and been forced into debt to their employer. They may not be paid the wages that they were promised. They may have had their passports taken away, told they would be arrested if they spoke up. They may be told their families are at risk if they try to run away.


Photo by Gil Ribeiro on Unsplash

Step Forward


We don’t expect our readers to know the full extent of modern slavery within every industry, but self-educating is a great way to start. This can begin by simply looking around at the people working different jobs that you interact with each day, from the security guard outside your office to the people working in your local car wash to the staff in your nail salon. Read up about these industries and how modern slavery can exist in plain sight. You might be surprised to come across information you hadn’t known existed. Better yet, what you have newly discovered interests you so much you decide to share it with a colleague.


A lot like the elephant in the room, a small act of simply sharing information on the subject of modern slavery to others can go a long way to provide clarity on the issue. If 10 million people did a small thing each, that’s 10 million steps of progress.

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