50,000,000 people across the world are now living in modern slavery

zone post image for post 18848974

Madeleine McCann’s parents may have to wait months for analysis of ‘relevant clue’

The G20, made up of 19 of the largest economies in the world plus the European Union, accounts for more than half of all people living in modern slavery and imports $468 billion (£379 billion) of connected products annually.

The US was the biggest offender at $169.6 billion (£137 billion) of these imports – but the UK still imports $26.1 billion (£21 billion).

As well as highlighting the potential environmental impact of fast fashion, Nasreen adds: ‘This is not a small of money and that money is coming from the most vulnerable people.

‘It’s such a deep thing to think about, and people really need to acknowledge how they’re contributing to slavery.

‘People have forgotten how slavery is so close to their clothes now. It’s food, electronics, coffees, gold, diamonds and textiles, all of that.

Nasreen Sheikh
Nasreen used her skills learned in the sweat shop to launch her own business (Picture: Nasreen Sheikh)

‘People need to ask questions – where my clothes come from, where my things come from – and if you have money, support local artists, local businesses, fair trade products that give transparency to the supply chain.

‘People think what could I do, I am nothing, but you are something and if you consume mindlessly it will have a ripple effect on girls like me in these rural villages.’

Mahendra Pandey, from the Palpa district in Nepal, dutifully followed the footsteps of his father and family before him by moving to Saudi Arabia for work in 2006.

He experienced first-hand the terrible working conditions many migrant workers face, which he says led to ‘suffering and pain’.

‘Once you arrive in the country, you leave your passport with your employer, and you cannot leave, or change your job, without asking them,’ he tells

‘You have to do whatever work they ask you to do, regardless of whether you went to be a salesman or construction worker – whatever they tell you to do, they have to do it. Everything’s controlled by them.

‘At that time, I didn’t have the understanding – I just thought that is part of our job and we have to do it.

‘[But later] I realised that whatever the experience and the struggle I faced was totally wrong.’

Mahendra Pandey
Mahendra Pandey experienced first-hand the terrible working conditions many Nepali migrant workers face (Picture: Mahendra Pandey)

Mahendra, now in his mid-30s, went on to launch the

‘Instead of forcing these young girls to do things, let them choose their own love. Let them be an engineer, or a doctor, or whatever they could be to make a bigger and greater impact.’

When Nasreen Sheikh speaks, there is a fire and passion to her words.

Continuing her thoughts, she adds: ‘But they’re stuck in the machine system where they can’t have good water, or good food to eat, or a voice, or even sign their name… People think modern day slavery was abolished long ago, but then you see these numbers and realise – no.’

The fact that Nasreen was one of these young girls makes it clear why she feels so strongly about the issue. Born in a village called Rajura on the border of India and Nepal, her birth was not documented so she doesn’t even know when her birthday is.

Watching her 12-year-old sister be forced into marriage, she knew she’d be next, so at the age of 10 Nasreen left her village in an attempt to find freedom. Her plan sadly didn’t work and instead she had her ‘childhood stolen’ after ending up at a sweat shop in Nepal’s capital of Kathmandu, working up to 15 hours a day making garments to be sold in shops in the western world.

While this may have happened around 20 years ago for Nasreen, it is still the reality for millions across the world today, with around 70% of them thought to be women.

And according to the latest Global Slavery Index, some 50 million people globally are living in modern slavery – which is 10 million more compared with five years ago.

Around 122,000 people in the UK are estimated to be living in slavery at the moment.

Nasreen Sheikh was born in a village called Rajura on the border of India and Nepal, and her birth was not documented (Picture: Kamal Bista)

She is now a global speaker and advocate against modern slavery (Picture: Nasreen Sheikh)

‘It’s a basic human right to dream, to be human,’ Nasreen, now in her early 30s, tells

‘And the fact that 50 million people cannot dream, it’s such a loss of opportunities, and such a loss to the world.

‘I feel like businesses do have opportunities – not a challenge – to really help people, and let them dream.’

Nasreen says she was given the opportunity to dream after a ‘kind guardian’ come to her aid and helped her get ID, and learn to read and write.

‘With the help of education, slowly I was able to understand that this was not okay,’ she says. ‘I do have a voice. I used the skills I learned in the sweat shop to turn into my business.’

At the age of around 16, Nasreen secured a loan to set up the first ever social business in Kathmandu, called Local Women’s Handicrafts.

Nasreen pictured outside Local Women’s Handicrafts in Kathmandu, Nepal, which she opened at around 16 (Picture: Nasreen Sheikh)

‘Sometimes …read more

Source:: Metro


(Visited 5 times, 1 visits today)