There are an estimated 6,700 people in Swaziland living in slavery, according to a global survey.
And, the response by the Swazi Government to the problem is ‘inadequate’, according to report publishers, the Walk Free Foundation, a global human rights organisation dedicated to ending modern slavery.
The Global Slavery Index 2014 estimates that in Swaziland, ‘The government response to modern slavery is inadequate, with limited andor few victim support services, a weak criminal justice framework, weak coordination or collaboration, while little is being done to address vulnerability. There are government practices and policies that facilitate slavery. Services, where available, are largely provided by IOsNGOs with little government funding or in-kind support.’
The report said, ‘Modern slavery involves one person possessing or controlling another person in such as a way as to significantly deprive that person of their individual liberty, with the intention of exploiting that person through their use, management, profit, transfer or disposal.’
It added, ‘Modern slavery is a hidden crime. It takes many forms, and is known by many names: slavery, forced labour, or human traffcking. All forms involve one person depriving another person of their freedom: their freedom to leave one job for another, their freedom to leave one workplace for another, their freedom to control their own body.’
This is the second annual Global Slavery Index. In 2013 it reported there were an estimated 1,302 people living in slavery in Swaziland. The reports publishers said the increase in numbers from last year were probably due to an improvement in the way information was collected, rather than an increase in slavery.
A separate report, the 2014 Trafficking in Persons, revealed that King Mswati III, who rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, uses forced child labour to work in his fields. ‘Swazi chiefs may coerce children and adults–through threats and intimidation–to work for the king. Swazi boys and foreign children are forced to labor in commercial agriculture, including cattle herding, and market vending within the country,’ the report from the US State Department said.
Source : Swazi Media Commentary