ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

A horrifying tale of Modern Slavery

Updated on August 19, 2014

A story that strikes way too close to home

The subject of human trafficking and slavery is more accustomed to the 17th and 18th century history books rather than the articles in today's newspapers. Unfortunately, that is the horrifying subject of Mende Nazer who was taken as a slave not in the distant past but the supposed civilized 1990s. This story is not for the feint of heart for it tells the saddening tale of modern slavery that doesn't get enough attention in today's environment.

Slavery is not limited to third world nations

Mende was born in Sudan in a remote village into a loving family and a quiet village. All of that changed when Arab bandits otherwise known as Mujahedin, came and destroyed the village. They raped the women, killed the men, kidnapped the children; all while yelling “Allahu Akbar” or G-d is great. At the age of 12 the life Mande knew came to an end and she now belonged to a very powerful Arab family.

Mende spent six years working as a slave in Khartoum doing not only house chores, but also hard labor and anything else her owners demanded. The stories of the abuse she received, physically, psychologically and sexually is incredibly hard to read, especially as they are told in such poignant detail. Harder to imagine was that after 6 years she was sent to work for a family in the United Kingdom. So well organized was the family she ‘belonged to’ and the unfortunate pervasiveness of slavery in Sudan, Mande was easily smuggled into what most would consider a safe and protected Western European country. In what could be consider a miracle , she managed to randomly meet with other Sudanese in a market in London and was able to overcome her fears and explain her situation. By sheer will power and with the help of a few, she was able to escape from a place most would consider a normal house, on a normal street, in middle class London which had been her jail for many months. She was granted immunity and permanent status in the United Kingdom where she still works as a human rights activist.

There are a few questions, specifically from the extremely powerful family that ‘owned’ Mende, to the full accuracy of this story. Was she a slave versus a servant? Did she get paid for her service or was she there completely involuntarily? While at this point we do not know the real answer, given the numerous corroborating facts and the pervasiveness of the violence in Sudan I believe in giving this story the benefit of the doubt. Regardless if you believe this specific story to be true, it does paint the picture of what is highly likely to be going on in the war torn regions in Africa, especially Sudan. I fear that stories like Mende are more common than we think. Human trafficking especially as it relates to the sex trade is not limited to Africa, but is very common in Europe and the United States as well. It is too easy to case a blind eye to the potential of these atrocities, so while this book is not 100% verified as fact, the story of slavery should be an education for all of us. An easy read that is sure to keep parents up at night for fear of what could happen to good people in the wrong situation.

Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, speech, Mar. 17, 1865

What can we learn from Mende's story?

I think there are two important lessons that we can take from this book. First, and probably the most obvious, is that there is suffering in the world with the strong taking advantage of the weak. There are countless news articles (see links at the bottom of this lens) of children and young women sold into sexual or other types of slavery. Unfortunately extreme poverty and wars make this all the more easier and can slip under the radar. This is not just in third world countries across distant oceans, but takes place in our own cities and towns. The State Department estimates that there are anywhere from 600,000-800,000 people trafficked against their will each year, with 17,500 of those in the US alone. Think of that, an entire baseball stadium of children being held in chains in basements and attics across the country that prides itself of freedom and equal rights. We need to speak out against this and support those efforts to find and STOP these atrocities.

The second lesson is a bit more subtle, and that is the power of speaking out. When a terrible thing happens many times we are reluctant to talk about it. Possibly out of embarrassment or possibly because we are trying to put it behind us; sadly neither are the healthy way of dealing with it. When you speak out to an audience, write a book, get interviewed on TV, you can make all the difference in the world. You can inspire others to come forward, you can stir emotions and drive people to get involved, you can make a difference. Stories like Mande's and others I have written about show that it only takes one to change the world. Be strong and share your story!

We say that slavery has vanished from European civilization, but this is not true. Slavery still exists, but now it applies only to women and its name is prostitution.

VICTOR HUGO

Do you believe their is slavery where you live?

See results

Mende Nazer in her own words

Learn so much more than I could write in this short review.

This was a great story that I strongly encourage for all those who want to learn more about modern human trafficking and slavery.

Slavery is theft -- theft of a life, theft of work, theft of any property or produce, theft even of the children a slave might have borne.

KEVIN BALES, Understanding Global Slavery

Learn more about modern slavery

What do you think of human trafficking and modern slavery?

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      tonyleather 

      4 years ago

      What a moving, not to say harrowing lens about a practice that has no place in modern western society, yet still goes on. Excellent lens!

    • HolyChristianWear profile image

      Gabriel 

      5 years ago from Hobbsville, NC

      This is so true of a lens. Lots of people don't like to talk about the bad thing. And want even think about it happening in their own city. I seen the movie I am Slave and it was one of the best movies I have seen in years. We as people need to get the word out about this as it does not seem the media will do it. Thanks so much for taking the time to post and make this len.

    • beeingwell profile image

      beeingwell 

      5 years ago

      This was a very well written expose on human trafficking. You are a fantastic writer! I agree that HT isn't talked about enough, although it is being raised more as an issue recently. It must have been a very difficult thing to write this, but I'm glad you did. It needs to be talked about. I'm sharing this right now...

    • LouisaDembul profile image

      LouisaDembul 

      6 years ago

      I've met a lot of women forced into prostitution. It is very sad, and happening right under our eyes.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

      6 years ago from United States

      I find even the idea of human trafficking to be disgusting. The knowledge that it does happen is appalling and makes me sick to the very depths of my soul.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)