Results from the Global Slavery Index revealed that nearly 30 million people throughout the world are victims of modern day forms of slavery, that include sex trafficking, exploitation of labor, debt slavery and child labor. In the list of the top ten countries afflicted with modern day slavery conditions, Pakistan was listed in the top three; 2.1 million Pakistanis were concluded to be victims of child labor, bonded labor as well as human trafficking. India remained right next to Pakistan in the index; 13.9 million Indians are caught in a highly prevalent violence of intergenerational bonded labor while millions suffer labor abuse and exploitation. Forced marriages, child marriages and misogyny were factors included in the index as well.

The insidious nature of modern day slavery renders it nearly invisible, and not easy to point out. When we read the word, we assume the economic and political conditions of slavery are simply limited to irons chains and whip lashes, but the nature and repercussion of such exploitative and harrowing conditions is much more complex than that. Contemporary slavery, that includes bonded labor, is a poorly understood condition which explains why it remains so hidden from our watch. The violence of it is often camouflaged in domestic settings. One of the examples of such commonly occurring abuse in Pakistan is the employment of women and children in domestic households where they are forced to work beyond their physical capacities.

The will, dignity and rights of these individuals are denied on a regular basis without any curtailing or intervening by governmental authorities. Conventions stated by organizations such as the International Labor Organization are highly recommended to alleviate the plight of victims. The onus of preventing these violations lies upon the government and civil society in Pakistan; strengthening the laws that protect workers from brutal conditions is the first step. An ignoble prize for Pakistan to have won, we must resolve to remove ourselves from the shameful position of front runner in the slavery index.