Can a French Friar End the 21’st Century Slave Trade? Deconstructing the Article & Further Resarch.

Starting this project David provided us with 10 articles, we needed to select one topic of interest of which we would eventually use it as the content of our editorial magazine design project. Most of the articles sounded very exciting and somewhat intriguing, however, “Can a French Friar End the 21’st Century Slave Trade?” seemed to be the one that really stood out to me. I liked the idea of working with something different and relatively big for a change. I felt that this article was the big issue that the nowadays society faces, something that needed more attention.

As a designer, I believe I can help to spread the word using the visual language of design. This topic feels very similar to the last project “designing like activism” which we needed to design for people who do not have the knowledge and the necessary tools to speak out loud to the world, and the world giving them the attention required to make a change. So that’s when I come in, putting together everything that I have learnt in the past and since the start of this course to come up with the best graphic language for my chosen topic for the editorial piece.

Now I have studied the article and I have deconstructed it in order to learn more about it and its background, tones etc.

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What is forced labour?

Forced labour is any work or service which people are forced to do against their will, under threat of punishment. Almost all slavery practices contain some element of forced labour.

It affects millions of men, women and children around the world. It is most often found in industries with a lot of workers and little regulation. These include:

  • Agriculture and fishing
  • Domestic work
  • Construction, mining, quarrying and brick kilns
  • Manufacturing, processing and packaging
  • Prostitution and sexual exploitation
  • Market trading and illegal activities

Forced labour is the most common element of modern slavery. It is the most extreme form of people exploitation.

Although many people associate forced labour and slavery with physical violence, in fact, the ways used to force people to work are more insidious and ingrained in some cultures.

Forced labour often affects the most vulnerable and excluded groups, for example commonly discriminated Dalits in India. Women and girls are more at risk than boys and men, and children make up a quarter of people in forced labour.

Migrant workers are targeted because they often don’t speak the language, have few friends, have limited rights and depend on their employers.

Forced labour happens in the context of poverty, lack of sustainable jobs and education, as well as a weak rule of law, corruption and an economy dependent on cheap labour.

Five Forms of Slavery:

Chattel slavery is the most common form of slavery known to Americans. This system, which allowed people — considered legal property — to be bought, sold and owned forever, was supported by the US and European powers in the 16th – 18th centuries.

Today, most observers agree there are five major forms of slavery occurring in the world. Each form represents the basic truths of enslavement: The victims are forced to work involuntarily or are unable to leave once they have started.

The enslaved face the threat of physical, mental or emotional punishments and are deceived and abused daily. If a person’s labour is exploited by such means, any previous consent to work for the enslaver becomes irrelevant as they are now being held against their will.

Thankfully, slavery is no longer legally protected anywhere in the world. Yet, the control and exploitation of one human being by another still remain.

  • Forced Labor — Describes all types of coerced work that an individual must provide against his or her will. Contemporary forced labourers are treated as property to be exploited commercially, much in the same way African Americans were regarded during the antebellum period in American history.
  • Bonded Labor or Debt Labor — Describes slavery in which an individual is compelled to work in order to repay a debt. It differs from other forms in that, oftentimes the labourer and the employer initially enter into a mutual agreement. However, contract conditions may be illegal and/or vastly more beneficial to the employer than the labourer. These workers become slaves when they continue working, but cannot pay off their initial debt because of exploitative contract terms and, thus, cannot leave.
  • Sex Slavery — Describes women, men or children that are exploited in the commercial sex industry, which may include: pornography, prostitution, erotic entertainment, strip clubs, online escort services, residential brothels, hostess clubs, fake massage parlours or any exchange of a sex act for something of value. Money may or may not be exchanged; other things that may be traded for sex acts are drugs, shelter, food or clothes. A person’s initial consent to participate is irrelevant if that person is held in service through psychological manipulation or physical force.
  • Child Slavery — Describes all child labour obtained from individuals under the age of 18 through the means of force, deception or coercion. Children can be enslaved in debt bondage, forced labour, prostitution, armies, domestic work and other forms of hazardous work. Today, forced child labour exists in nearly every industry around the globe.
  • Domestic Servitude — Describes slaves that are forced to work in extremely hidden workplaces: private homes. Domestic workers become slaves when their employer uses force, fraud or coercion to control or convince an employee that they have no choice but to continue working. Isolating environments, unfamiliar languages, confiscated travel documents and restricted mobility are often connected to this form of slavery.

We all have seen, heard or even came across the big brands like Apple, Starbucks, Tesco or even consumable products like shrimp, coffee, chocolate, tobacco and many others that have been fabricated and cultivated through using child slavery, forced labour etc. This video shows a better insight on how these products were produced through this type of labour and how it works.

Anti-Slavery Campaigns:

Slavery is closer than you think

Hidden In Plain Sight


CIOB Report

Recommendations from the report centred on the need to create an all-encompassing approach to the issue of modern slavery, with contributions from government, industry and NGOs.

Operation Magnify, an enforcement initiative launched by the Home Office, targeted businesses that employed or exploited illegal migrant workers. The CIOB supported the campaign and cited that migrants without the right to work become vulnerable, and, as our industry tells us, are at serious risk of injury, exploitation and human rights abuses.


Examples of Posters about Anti-Slavery


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