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リサ・クリスティン:現代奴隷の目撃写真 pdf

リサ・クリスティン:現代奴隷の目撃写真 pdf

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Published by: zuchaga on Nov 20, 2012
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I'm 150 feet down an illegal mine shaft in Ghana. The air is thick with heat anddust, and it's hard to breathe. I can feel the brush of sweaty bodies passing mein the darkness, but I can't see much else. I hear voices talking, but mostly theshaft is this cacophony of men coughing, and stone being broken with primitivetools. Like the others, I wear a flickering, cheap flashlight tied to my head withthis elastic, tattered band, and I can barely make out the slick tree limbs holdingup the walls of the three-foot square hole dropping hundreds of feet into theearth. When my hand slips, I suddenly remember a miner I had met days beforewho had lost his grip and fell countless feet down that shaft.As I stand talking to you today, these men are still deep in that hole, risking theirlives without payment or compensation, and often dying.I got to climb out of that hole, and I got to go home, but they likely never will,because they're trapped in slavery.For the last 28 years, I've been documenting indigenous cultures in more than70 countries on six continents, and in 2009 I had the great honor of being thesole exhibitor at the Vancouver Peace Summit. Amongst all the astonishingpeople I met there, I met a supporter of Free the Slaves, an NGO dedicated toeradicating modern day slavery. We started talking about slavery, and really, Istarted learning about slavery, for I had certainly known it existed in the world,but not to such a degree. After we finished talking, I felt so horrible and honestlyashamed at my own lack of knowledge of this atrocity in my own lifetime, and Ithought, if I don't know, how many other people don't know? It started burning ahole in my stomach, so within weeks, I flew down to Los Angeles to meet withthe director of Free the Slaves and offer them my help.Thus began my journey into modern day slavery. Oddly, I had been to many ofthese places before. Some I even considered like my second home. But thistime, I would see the skeletons hidden in the closet.A conservative estimate tells us there are more than 27 million people enslavedin the world today. That's double the amount of people taken from Africa duringthe entire trans-Atlantic slave trade. A hundred and fifty years ago, anagricultural slave cost about three times the annual salary of an Americanworker. That equates to about $50,000 in today's money. Yet today, entirefamilies can be enslaved for generations over a debt as small as $18.Astonishingly, slavery generates profits of more than $13 billion worldwide eachyear.
Many have been tricked by false promises of a good education, a better job,only to find that they're forced to work without pay under the threat of violence,and they cannot walk away.Today's slavery is about commerce, so the goods that enslaved people producehave value, but the people producing them are disposable. Slavery existseverywhere, nearly, in the world, and yet it is illegal everywhere in the world.In India and Nepal, I was introduced to the brick kilns. This strange and awesomesight was like walking into ancient Egypt or Dante's Inferno. Enveloped intemperatures of 130 degrees, men, women, children, entire families in fact, werecloaked in a heavy blanket of dust, while mechanically stacking bricks on theirhead, up to 18 at a time, and carrying them from the scorching kilns to truckshundreds of yards away. Deadened by monotony and exhaustion, they worksilently, doing this task over and over for 16 or 17 hours a day. There were nobreaks for food, no water breaks, and the severe dehydration made urinatingpretty much inconsequential. So pervasive was the heat and the dust that mycamera became too hot to even touch and ceased working. Every 20 minutes,I'd have to run back to our cruiser to clean out my gear and run it under an airconditioner to revive it, and as I sat there, I thought, my camera is getting farbetter treatment than these people.Back in the kilns, I wanted to cry, but the abolitionist next to me quickly grabbedme and he said, "Lisa, don't do that. Just don't do that here." And he very clearlyexplained to me that emotional displays are very dangerous in a place like this,not just for me, but for them. I couldn't offer them any direct help. I couldn't givethem money, nothing. I wasn't a citizen of that country. I could get them in aworse situation than they were already in. I'd have to rely on Free the Slaves towork within the system for their liberation, and I trusted that they would. As forme, I'd have to wait until I got home to really feel my heartbreak.In the Himalayas, I found children carrying stone for miles down mountainousterrain to trucks waiting at roads below. The big sheets of slate were heavierthan the children carrying them, and the kids hoisted them from their headsusing these handmade harnesses of sticks and rope and torn cloth. It's difficultto witness something so overwhelming. How can we affect something soinsidious, yet so pervasive? Some don't even know they're enslaved, peopleworking 16, 17 hours a day without any pay, because this has been the case alltheir lives. They have nothing to compare it to. When these villagers claimedtheir freedom, the slaveholders burned down all of their houses. I mean, thesepeople had nothing, and they were so petrified, they wanted to give up, but thewoman in the center rallied for them to persevere, and abolitionists on theground helped them get a quarry lease of their own, so that now they do the
same back-breaking work, but they do it for themselves, and they get paid for it,and they do it in freedom.Sex trafficking is what we often think of when we hear the word slavery, andbecause of this worldwide awareness, I was warned that it would be difficult forme to work safely within this particular industry.In Kathmandu, I was escorted by women who had previously been sex slavesthemselves. They ushered me down a narrow set of stairs that led to this dirty,dimly fluorescent lit basement. This wasn't a brothel, per se. It was more like arestaurant. Cabin restaurants, as they're known in the trade, are venues forforced prostitution. Each has small, private rooms, where the slaves, women,along with young girls and boys, some as young as seven years old, are forcedto entertain the clients, encouraging them to buy more food and alcohol. Eachcubicle is dark and dingy, identified with a painted number on the wall, andpartitioned by plywood and a curtain. The workers here often endure tragicsexual abuse at the hands of their customers. Standing in the near darkness, Iremember feeling this quick, hot fear, and in that instant, I could only imaginewhat it must be like to be trapped in that hell. I had only one way out: the stairsfrom where I'd come in. There were no back doors. There were no windows largeenough to climb through. These people have no escape at all, and as we take insuch a difficult subject, it's important to note that slavery, including sextrafficking, occurs in our own backyard as well.Tens of hundreds of people are enslaved in agriculture, in restaurants, indomestic servitude, and the list can go on. Recently, the New York Timesreported that between 100,000 and 300,000 American children are sold intosex slavery every year. It's all around us. We just don't see it.The textile industry is another one we often think of when we hear about slavelabor. I visited villages in India where entire families were enslaved in the silktrade. This is a family portrait. The dyed black hands are the father, while theblue and red hands are his sons. They mix dye in these big barrels, and theysubmerge the silk into the liquid up to their elbows, but the dye is toxic.My interpreter told me their stories."We have no freedom," they said. "We hope still, though, that we could leave thishouse someday and go someplace else where we actually get paid for ourdyeing."It's estimated that more than 4,000 children are enslaved on Lake Volta, thelargest man-made lake in the world. When we first arrived, I went to have a quicklook. I saw what seemed to be a family fishing on a boat, two older brothers,some younger kids, makes sense right? Wrong. They were all enslaved. Childrenare taken from their families and trafficked and vanished, and they're forced to

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