Supply Serfdom where Serfs (almost equal to Slaves)

Supply Chain discourse over the
years has gathered more concern based on its economic implications and mostly
tackling the problems that lurks around its effectiveness. Aside from building
resilient supply chain frameworks to withstand disruptions, pressing global
issues such as Modern slavery in supply chain activities now bedevils its
operations. Given the fact that slavery is an ancient and  barbaric act, the contemporary doesn’t mean
the archaic exist no more – and Slavery is simply saying ”I have come to
stay.” That sure sounds like a bragging right but until we do something about
it, this may just be the fate of many in times to come as is the fate of many this
very moment.

Slavery has been more of a curse
than blessing, it shaped centuries from time immemorial to this present age,
and it surely will do it again. Humanity is at the tipping point between
freedom and servitude and slavery has just been given a different kind of push
and it has vowed to stay. To go back a bit to where it began, it was
practically brutish and men owned men like properties – another era saw slavery
come in a different package. Feudalism it is, a period of Serfdom where Serfs
(almost equal to Slaves) were at the mercy of their Lords, and after a while
came Capitalism where labour is been exchange for wages. Capitalism seems a bit
fair as anyone could get to the peak of the pyramid – the peak is that large
enough to accommodate.

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SLAVERY’S CHAIN
IN SUPPLY CHAIN

Regardless of what many around the
world may think; slavery although presently illegal all over the world and
(criminalized in Mauritania not until 2007) has found its way back into the
society – it simply never left but transfigured into what many now tag as
Modern Slavery, it operates in several ways but not limited to bonded labour or
debt bondage, chattel slavery and forced labour. With recent increase in the
number of illegal emigration, modern slavery has found its way into supply
chain networks, giving some industries the opportunity to exploit and take
undue advantage of helpless men, women and children who supposedly fled their
home country in search of greener pastures and mostly for refuge sake as a
result of civil unrest and other forms of insecurity back home.

According to the Global Slavery
Index report of 2016, an estimated number of 45.8 Million people find
themselves in the chains of modern slavery globally, while 58 per cent of those
living in slavery are in countries like India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh,
Uzbekistan etc, North Korea, Uzbekistan, Cambodia, India and Qatar have the
highest proportion of their population in modern slavery and virtually all these
affected individuals constitute the slaves in supply chain activities today.  

In the midst of scarce resources,
inevitable disruptions in supply chain activities, uneven and unhealthy
competition amongst industries, modern Slaves come very handy and dragooned to
produce, gather and supply most of the raw materials and end products consumed
globally. These advertently help industries involved in this inhuman act break
even and maximize profit. These end products or materials could be a sparkling
diamond you own which could have been unearth and produced by child slaves in
Sierra Leone, or a piece of fabric manufactured by a slave industry in Nepal or
that Tri Cycle assembled in India – it could be anything we own today but
manufactured by people enslaved.

 

IS THE WORLD
JUST WATCHING?

Human trafficking and illegal
emigration is not a new discourse – but the events that took place during and
after the Arab Spring that began on 17th day of December, 2010 in
Tunisia and immediately spread to other countries like Egypt, Lybia, Syria,
Bahrain and Yemen created high level of tension and civil unrest in the Middle
east, giving room for violent protest, civil wars and acts of terror, rendered
many homeless and left them no choice but to seek refuge in other countries –
as a result, Europe experienced a great influx of multitudes from these middle
east countries. With the fact that this emigrants would want to earn little
pennies to survive the days, a job of any sort was worth it. Some Industries in
search for cheap or free labour immediately capitalize on this situation to the
detriment of unsuspecting refugees seeking to make ends meet.

However, with deteriorating
situations of modern slavery in Italy and Romania which according to the Modern
Slavery Index (MSI) are reaching their boiling points, Turkey also seem to be
gathering much heat as a result of the inflow of people in their thousands
caused by the Syrian war coupled with Turkeys stringent work permits, leaving
refugees no choice but to accept unfavourable working agreements and
environment. The Turkish government has done little next to nothing to address
this situation in order to avoid civil unrest from citizens; Italy and Romania
seem to also follow the same direction based on the MSI reports and situations
of modern slavery is expected to go on the rise in Italy in coming years.

Nevertheless, the Modern Slavery
Act proposed by Prime Minister Theresa May which was passed in 2015, became a
trailblazing action towards addressing the modern slavery menace. The law
called for all industries in the UK with revenue of £36 million or more to publicize
a transparent report on activities surrounding what they are doing to guarantee
there is no slavery in their supply chains. But because of supply chain
complexity and inevitable circumstances, it has become extremely difficult for
UK constituted authorities to enforce effectively this law(s)

However, countries like, Philippines,
Brazil, Croatia, Macedonia, Georgia, Moldova, Albania etc. are taking bold
moves to react to this issue. Countries taking the front burner in responding
to modern slavery are the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Sweden,
Australia, Portugal, Croatia, Spain, Belgium and Norway. Whereas, Qatar,
Singapore, Kuwait, Brunei etc that happen to have requisite resources to
address this situation have taken little or no action to address modern
slavery.

  

 

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