Human trafficking has been dubbed “modern-day slavery” for good reason. While the term is multifacted, each aspect of human trafficking is no less insidious than the last. One of these aspects is unfree labor. Unfree labor describes any condition in which someone is forced to work under threat of violence, destitution, or detention. Unlike free labor, which gives the worker a certain level of agency and freedom, unfree labor deprives them of dignity. Systems of unfree labor have persisted throughout human history, with many institutionalized forms having been abolished. Despite this great progress, human trafficking and unfree labor continues to be a huge facet of many modern economies.
One way of enforcing a system of unfree labor is through the use of debt. By trapping a worker in debt (usually for medical needs or dowries, an important part of many cultures) and depriving them of the means to pay off that debt, a human trafficker has essentially made that worker a slave. All People Free is a nonprofit organization that wants to end human trafficking throughout the world, but is especially focused on the brickyards of Pakistan. In the brickyards, owners coerce workers into housing debt and then do not pay them enough in wages to satisfy the debt. This coerces entire families into a lifetime of unfree labor under threat of destitution, and this is passed on from one generation to the next. Fortunately, you can help. All People Free employ a variety of tactics to combat the problem of human trafficking in the brickyards. Whether it’s through education, debt relief, or investment in alternative industries, your support can help end human trafficking in this region.