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San Htike Win

There are an estimated 610,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Thailand (GSI 2018). Men, women and children are victims of human trafficking for forced labour in the Thai fishing industry, subjected to physical abuse, excessive and inhumane working hours, sleep and food deprivation, forced use of methamphetamines and long trips at sea confined to the vessel. Due to the fishing industry relying on trans-shipments at sea to reduce expenditure, some find themselves trapped on long-haul trawlers for years at a time. This makes the monitoring of enslaves labour on fishing vessels costly and difficult.  In March 2013 San Htike Win was rescued from a Thai fishing vessel in Katang. Following his rescue he was held in a police station before being moved to a government run shelter in Ranong. After 11 months in the shelter, San Ktike Win tells of his frustration at the slow court process.

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Olga A

There are an estimated 31,000 people living in condition of modern slavery in Israel (GSI 2018). Women from Eastern Europe, China and Ghana, as well as Eritrean men and women are subjected to sex trafficking in Israel. People are often lured through the promise of seemingly legitimate jobs, only to be subjected to commercial sexual exploitation upon arrival.    Olga tells of her escape from a brothel in Israel.

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Said and Yarg

There are an estimated 43,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Mauritania, including up to 20,000 in forced labour. Slavery is entrenched in Mauritanian society, with slave status deeply rooted in social caste and being inherited from generation to generation. Of those in forced labour, Walk Free survey results estimate approximately 42 percent were exploited for domestic work. Forced labour in the domestic sector commonly includes women performing domestic chores, such as fetching water, gathering firewood, preparing food, pounding millet and caring for their master's children. Men and boys enslaved in the domestic sector typically herd animals (camels, cows, goats) or are forced to work in the fields.    Said Ould Salem, now 16, and his brother Yarg, 13, were born into slavery to the wealthy El Hassine family in Mauritania, having inherited the slave status from their mother. They worked all days from a very early age whilst their master’s children went to school and played football. The boys managed to escape in April 2011 thanks to the help of SOS-Esclaves. Later, with the help of Anti-Slavery International, their master became the first slave-owner ever prosecuted for slavery in Mauritania’s history. However, he was released on bail until the appeal.    The boys waited for the appeal for nearly five years. With Anti-Slavery’s support, their case was taken by Minority Rights Group International (MRG) to an African Union court in 2016, prompting a response from Mauritanian authorities and organising the appeal hearing in November 2016. The Court of Appeal increased the level of compensation awarded to the boys. However, their former slave owner’s sentence has remained unchanged, requiring him to serve only two years, when the law requires 5-10 years for the crime of slavery. The boys’ lawyers will appeal the sentence to the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, Said and Yarg are both in secondary school and respectively dream of becoming a human rights defender and a lawyer. 

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Shelly A.

The United Arab Emirates is a destination for men and women predominantly from South and Southeast Asia, trafficked for the purposes of labour and commercial sexual exploitation. Migrant workers make up over 90 per cent of the UAE’s private sector workforce and are recruited from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, China, and the Philippines. Though some travel willingly, they are subjected to conditions of modern slavery including withholding of passports, non-payment of wages, restrictions of movement and threats of physical and sexual abuse. Trafficking of domestic workers is facilitated by the fact that normal protections for workers under UAE labour laws do not apply to domestic workers, leaving them more vulnerable to abuse Shelly A. travelled from the Philippines to the UAE for domestic work. Her sponsor forced her to work under the threat of physical abuse and her employer withheld her salary, paying only the initial 3 months but making her sign receipts stating she was in receipt of her salary. Her employer took her passport, confined her to the house and subjected her to physical abuse. Shelly A. filed a criminal case against her employers which has yet to reach an outcome.