Human trafficking and slavery. Given the realities of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, these are not words to be used lightly. Nonetheless, this is the only way to describe some of the horrific abuses that have been perpetrated in the Asia-Pacific region in recent times.
Human trafficking is complicated. It's kept under wraps, overlooked, and often ignored. Few reliable studies exist about its prevalence. As a result, it's often hard to separate myth from fact when trying to understand this horrific abuse of human rights.
January is Human Trafficking Prevention Month, a time for realizing that slavery actually did not end with the Emancipation Proclamation. As a matter of fact, the U.S. State Department tells us that there are 12.3 million "trafficking slaves" around the world today.
On International Human Rights Day, Walk Free and International Labor Rights Forum, both members of the Cotton Campaign coalition, projected striking images of Uzbekistan forced labour onto the headquarters of the World Bank in Washington D.C.
Today, modern-day slavery is an invisible crime. There are no chains, the injuries are psychological, and the victims walk among us, mostly unnoticed, trapped in dark and illicit networks operating in the shadows.
In September 2015, world leaders gathered in New York to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals (or 'SDGs'). Alongside areas of focus such as poverty, hunger and health, the SDGs include a focus on productive employment and decent work.
Does Islam sanction slavery? Until recently, this question would have been seen as somewhat outlandish or else academic. Aside from the odd right-wing talk show host in the US, the latter question does not generally arise these days except in academic and theological discussions.
It was difficult to believe that human trafficking could be so close to home, but that's how forced labor works. It's pervasive. It preys on a community's vulnerabilities and blind spots. Perhaps most troubling, it afflicts the economically vulnerable.
What 13-year-old girl wakes up one day and says she wants to be a prostitute when she grows up? That was the question Timea Eva Nagy posed as she addressed the crowd -- a room full of regulatory compliance and anti-money laundering specialists, me included, just last week.
As we take turns pushing her one-year-old brother in his stroller, my daughter asks me why people don't just stay away from bad people, then they won't be trafficked. I tell her that usually the story starts out with hope.
Women are the most vulnerable targets of the Islamic State (IS), which has enslaved and brutalized women who don't meet their jihadi standards, and even introduced female police squads to monitor and persecute their own sex.