Racial inequality and discrimination is ongoing social epidemic. It has taken its toll on too many individuals who do not deserve such treatment. 

Unfortunately, this discrimination and mistreatment are often based solely on differences in skin colour, culture, and ethnic identity. This is a tremendous part of why modern slavery exists today.


What Is Racial Discrimination? Why Is It Prominent Here In Australia?


According to The Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW, racial discrimination is when an individual is treated unfairly on the basis of their colour, nationality, descent, ethno-religious or national origin. 

Of course, this is a difficult concept to measure. Especially as most racial discrimination encounters go unreported. However, there is strong evidence that racism in Australia alone is on an upward trend and has increased significantly over the last two decades. 

This can be traced to the escalation of immigration and refugee placement. As seen in many other countries that experience high levels of migration, there is resistance against the new citizens and visitors, for fear of nationalist disruption, economic downfall, or even terrorist attacks. All of these fears can lead to racial mistreatment and prejudice toward people of colour, who are often seen as “outsiders.”


So How Does Racial Inequality and Discrimination Contribute to Modern Slavery?


As mentioned above, Australia is a popular host country for many migrants. Just in this past year, studies have shown that 30% of Australia’s population originates from overseas countries. A majority of which are from Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Korea.

Individuals who travel from these countries migrate to Australia do so for multiple reasons. Either by their own free-will in hopes to find stable work or better living conditions. Or, as discussed in a previous article, they are forced to leave their home countries as a result of the human trafficking industry. 

In the case of the latter, these individuals are exploited as they are submitted into a business that thrives on abuse and oppression. An explicitly manipulative form of modern slavery. 

Compared to this, the former reason for migration is not as obvious. The individuals that seek new and fruitful opportunities for their lives, whether economically or socially, can unknowingly fall victim to forced labour. This is another vicious form of modern slavery.

These individuals are typically presented with an attractive employment opportunity that offers benefits applicable to their needs. They are then recruited and tasked to work, only to discover that they no longer have a say in when they are able to stop. These individuals are often underpaid or, most of the time, not even paid at all. They are also subjected to experience physical and emotional abuse, sexual harassment, or borderline uninhabitable living conditions.


Concluding Victim Vulnerabilities


By making the connection between racial discrimination and modern slavery, we can see that individuals who are considered “different” are made most vulnerable. As a result, they can face a large amount of exploitation. And they can be deceived into forced labour or human trafficking. 

This is an important concept to understand. Seeing that racial prejudice and inequality is a very prominent issue in today’s society. And unfortunately does not seem to be something that will be eradicated anytime soon. 

In conclusion, to best fight against modern slavery, we must acknowledge that the individuals that often face the most racial discrimination and inequality are the individuals most vulnerable to modern slavery. Similarly, we must remember to acknowledge that gender-based violence and poverty are two other reasons why modern slavery exists. Also, that it affects so many communities. 

It is through this knowledge that we can allow ourselves to be better allies. And become better neighbours that protect one another from the exploitative and manipulative barbarities of modern slavery.

Written by: Charlene Moraleda

Pic by @christianwinklercreative


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