Modern-Day Slavery: Ethical Implications And Challenges

Hugo Boss and the Issue of Modern-Day Slavery


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Mode rn-day slavery has become a huge issue. People are forced to work in farms, factories and domestic work. Women are forced into prostitution and children are working in sweatshops, manufacturing goods for global companies. Families are working hard for small pay- to- pay generational debts while yo un g women are forced to many older men. The hard

economic times have forced companies and individuals to engage in modem-day slavery  making it a substantial ethical issue in business. For exam ple, Hugo Boss has been associated with Indian mills that hold workers captive. The factory owners argue that the holding policy makes sure that workers are safe in the mral areas (Bengtse n Peter, 2016). However young women are held captive in the mills and do not connects with the surroundings for a long time. In the article , 4 ‘ Recruiters order Sri Lankan women to take birth control before working in the gulf,’ Sophie Cousins explores the same issue of modern day slavery. Sophie states that most women are forced to take the birth control injections , yet they do not even know what the dos es are meant for since they are not told anyth ing . The contraceptives are intended to hide the sexual assaults that recruitment agents perpetrate and act as an assurance for employers, to make sure that the workers will not get pregnant. Agents lure women lying to them im plyin g that for them to get jobs abroad; they have to sleep with them . Employers also abuse the workers , beating them and assaulting them , which constitutes modern day slavery. Employers and agencies objectify immigrant workers in Middle East, since their choices and bodies do not matter anymore after migration. In emplo yme nt, they are exploited and abused , but due to their low economic status, they bear the tort11re (Pande 2013, 420).

ExJlloitation of workers

Sophie claims six recruiters in Sri Lanka approved by the gover nme nt stated the y could offer emplo yers an assurance that the maid would remain safe from pregnanc y for three months. From this argument , it is deducible that employers take the women workers for machines . Cousins also presents Saroja ‘s story , who sought work in the Gulf only to be overworked· cooking and cleaning for a family of 12 (Cousins, 2018, 1). Saroja could n.ot also send mone y home since she was not paid and she had to endure her abusive boss. None theless , based on the article, due to the economic struggles and lack of jobs, Sri Lankan women have accepted the situation. Recruitment agencies are enforcing contraceptives since it is clear that once the y get to the Gulf the workers will be sexually active and agencies ·want to avoid the repatriation costs.

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Birth Control and Sexual Assault in the Gulf

Saroja returned home with barely a dollar , ye t she had gone to the Gulf looking for greener pastures.. The article has not highlighted  any legal implications , but it is illegal for agencies to inject the women without their consent. The women should know that the y are taking contracepti ves and it should be their choice; agencies should not make it compulsory . Slavery has been an issue for centuries, but mode rn-da y sla very is catalyz ed by economic inequalit y since the targeted countries have poor infrastruc ture, inefficient and ineffective Im and order forces, and hard economies.

Although the article only covers the modem day slavery in  the Gulf  the issue has affected the entire world. In 2016, an NGO in Australia released the first ever-Modem sla very inde x. TI1e document features countries that were profoundly influenced by modem -day sla ve1y , and the y included India , Cambodia North Korea Qatar  China, and Uzbekist an (Davidson , 2015 30). In 2015 BBC produced a documentary highlighting the poor working conditions on Indian tea plantations ; portraying the indust ry as a slavery unit The companies did not offer workers protection fonn chemicals and  the pay  was  very  low  ,  The film  also  highlights  child labor featuring a kid tending to the fields and managers trying their best  to avoid the  press. In Indones ia, workers are suffering as  they  sew  clothes for small  pay, and  in  Bangladesh, thousands of workers are buried in collapsed factories  (Andrejevic , Co akley ,  2013).  Fu.rthe1more, recently, in the United Kingdom, over 5,000 potential victims of modern-day slavery and trafficking were reported (Bales et al, 2015, 18). Therefo re, even though governments , NGOs and humanitarian organizations all over the world  are  trying  hard  to fight  the  vice  it  is still a considerable challenge across the globe.

Ethical Concerns

A major ethical issue highlighted in the article is on leadership since the Sri Lankan government in its quest to deal with unemplo yme nt issue licenses the agencies perpetrating this vice. Moreover , the agencies enforce the contraceptives to sidestep the repatriation costs once the worker is pregnant. The agencies treat the workers  as machines , abandonin g their corporate social responsibility. It is their obliga tion to take care of the Sri Lankan workers ensuring that they do not undergo assault abuse and that the y are paid. Nonetheless , the agencies abandon this duty enforcing contraceptives to cover up abuse that workers endure at the hand of the agents and employers. The agencies lie to workers , about the high pay and that the y would get enough to take care of their families. Workers end up being abused , and th ey are not paid since Saroja nanates how she was overworked and she could not take care of her family since the employer withheld her payment (Cousin s, 2018, 1). Her employer also abused her, beating her and ripping her clothes off. Agencies only focus on making mone y since they charge the workers a lot of mone y, regardless of their desperate and unfortunate situation . Saroja had to sell her jewelry to pay 200 Euros for training (Cous ins , 2018 1). This is quite a high fee for Saroja : hose son is ill;

Global Impact of Modern-Day Slavery

husband is disabled and has five widowed sisters. Getting tha t mone y was strenuous for Saroja who takes care of her extended famil y alone. The agencies also exploit their desperation and use them sexually with a promise to get them a job abroad and marrying them. The women’s welfare does not matter to them, only their client’s well-being since Saroja says, and 2″ the agency keeps coming back telling me how poor we are and that I should go back for my children (Cousi ns, 2018 1). The agency does not care about the abuse she had to endure and the mone y she was not paid which is unfortunate . These agencies should put the workers first. They should come up  with policies to protect workers from abusive employers , oven ork, and to make sure that the workers get their pay. Agencies should also come up with ramifications preventing agents from sexually abusing these women and come up with better rates to avoid exploitation of workers.

Ethical Ramifications

The right ethical decisions  have not been  made since instead  of preventing abuse agencies are coming up with ways to cover up sexual assault. The country has already em braced the issues of sexual abuse since women who seek employment in the Gulf are expected to endw-e abuse by their emp loyers . Never theless , the women still go since they have to take care of their families and they have no jobs. Human rights organizations  have flagged  the Gulf for modern day slavery and exploitation of workers . Employers take the workers’ passports and even though they abuse th em, they do not face any legal consequences. Maids cannot leave their jobs since employers purchase them through the agen t’ s fees and they need to get the service they paid for (Crane, A, 2013, 60). Employers hold the mone y until the debt is cleared and in some cases, they inflate it to include clothes , food and expenses. Based on an ILO survey, Kuwa it migrant domestic workers .vork for around 78 to 100 hours weekly. They cook , clean the house and tend to the children. In some instances , they do extra work in their employers ‘ relatives’ houses. The workers cannot freely practice their religion the y have no off days, and some are not paid. Over 40 percent of the, orkers report physical and sexual abuse (Shar et al. 2014 25). Eve n though Gulf governments have come up with laws to give mi grant workers more rights, domestic workers are excluded from these labor laws since they work in private homes. Legislation meant for domestic workers offers less protection compared to laborers in other industries. For example domestic workers are required to work for fifteen hours compared to eight hours meant for laborers in other sectors. Omani lalbor laws do not include domesti c workers in the prescribed terms and conditions. Domestic workers therefore end up suffering since some emplo ye rs take them  for sfaves, arguing that they are pur chased (Fernandez et al., 2014, 70). The  government and agencies should come up with policies to protect domestic workers and should educate employers, that what th ey are doin g is inhumane and wrong. Agencies should be directly responsible for the workers.

Leadership and Corporate Social Responsibility

3 Ethical decision making llrocess

The first step in the ethical decis ion-making process is gath ering facts. The information is derived from research on mode rn-day slavery iin the gulf and articles on the same. From the facts, ethical issues are defined and  in this case  the agencies and employers do not consider  the workers’ welfa re they only see them as machines since they are not paid and are albused . The stakeholders hence include the agencies , the employers , the government and th e workers. The agencies and governme nt should prote ct their Sri Lankan citizens, employers should offer good workin g conditions, and the workers should refrain from abusive emplo ymen t. Legal repercussions should befall abusive employers and exploitative agencies since mode rn-da y slavery violates human rights taking immigrant workers  for lesser !beings. The abusive employers do not face the law which is unjust and against the human rights principles . The stakeholders should observe virtue ethics that demands virtues such as generosity, honest y and everything that embodies a moral character (Van Hoot, 2014). Virtuous people will make the right choices, and they will treat each other better. In conclusion Cousins highlights a huge issue; modern slavery and how workers are treated as objects. She highlights how agencies and employers in the Gulf exploit the poor. The primary driver for modern slavery is poverty and inequality since victims are single mothers and women who sin gle-handedly take care of their fam ilies . Unempl oyment is a huge is sue in all countries especially in the developing nations making them targets for modern day sla very.Governments and agencies should come up with la ws to curb this vice.


Recruiters order Sri Lankan women to take birth control before working in Gulf

Agencies offerguarantee that women desperate to support families devastated by conflict will not fall pregnant Sri Lank:an women who take up domestic ‘Vork in the Middle East to support families devastated byconflict are being targeted by recru itme nt agents who order them to take contraceptiives before leaving.

Sixrecruiters licens ed by the Sri Lankan governmen t said they could provide an employer with” “three-month guarantee” that”  maid would not become pregnant.

An agent from Gulf Jobs in Colom bo, the Sri Lankan ca pital, said: “Before we cansend a maid, there is a medical c heck-up by the government and no one can influence that. Bu t once the medical test is done … there is a device we can give in them. If you want it, we can arrange it.”‘

Ethical Ramifications

While no women were prepared to speak openly about being forced to take contraceptives, the Guardian follild 1ha1 many recruitment agencies make migrant workers take Depo-Provera, an injectable contraceptive that last s for three months.

Sri Lanka’s protracted civil war, which daimed the lives of tens of thousands of husbands, fathers and brothers., and took a severe physical or  mental to lJ on countless other combatants has left many Tamil wome.n as the so]e breadw:inners For th e ir fa milies .

Rahini Bhaskaran, coordin ator of Migrants Ne twork , a migrant rights organisation, said women were so desperate for work that they complied unquestioningly the stipulations of recr uiters.

“Most women don’t know what the injections are for,” she said. “They are not told anything about it,” she said.

Bhask ara n believes the contraceptive serves a double purpose: covering up potential sexual as a u lst by recruitment agents.

”Some women thinlk: ifs necessary … to have sex with the agents to go abroad. The agents coax women, even promising marriage in some cases, and then abuse them:’ said Bhaskaran.

Typically single, divorced or widowed, or married to men who are no longer able to work, the women are victims ofa growing pattern of abuse and coercion by agents and employers.

The experience of Saroja is indicative of the abusive behaviour that many endure. In 2016, a man turned up at her home in a small village in northern Sri Lanka with the offer of a job in the Middle East.

“They came looking for me;’ she said. ‘They told me I could earn well if I went abroad and that they could help me to look after my family.”

Saroja’s son was ill and the dvil war had left her husband disabled and her five sisters widowed. Struggling to shoulder the burden of caring for her extended family sin,gle· handedly,, she accepted the offer. She sold her jeweUe ry to pay the agency the equivalen t of £200 for training, and left her village on the outskirts of Jaffna to take up employmen t as a household maid in Sauw Arabia .

According to Senthurajah, the dangers have become accepted to the point where it is almost expected that women who migrate to work in the Middle East ‘Will face abuse or assault at the hands of their employers.

”When a woman goes abroad it’s implicit she’s going to be sexually active,” he says.. ‘ The chance is high for abuse.”

Swairee Rupasinghe, coordinator for labour migration at the International Labour Organisation in Sri Lanka, said there was an economic imperative for recruiters to make women take contraceptives.

“I see why the recruitment agencies organise it – because if found pregnant they would have to bare the cost of repatriation of the worker, so it’s in their interest to enforce it,” said Rupasinghe.

Rothna Begum, women’s rights researcher at Hum an Rights Watch, said: ‘ Migrant domestic workers in the Gulf are treated as cornmodlities by agencies and employers to the extent that their bodies and their choices are no longer theirs at the point of migration. When they go into employment, it’s this power dynamic that allows exploitation and abuse to flourish.”

After eight months in Saudi Arab ia, Saroja eventually arrived home with less than a dollar in her pocket.