- 03:19 Pirates
- 07:42 Slaves by the Numbers
- 12:04 Diversity of Products
- 14:33 The "Third World" and the Environment
- 21:03 Vicious Cycle
- 23:10 Global Demand; Local Conflict
- 24:33 Conflict Mineral Supply Chain
- 28:55 Debt Path to Slavery
- 33:28 Malaysia
- 37:53 Vulnerability through Migration
- 39:56 Seafood
- 48:00 What are Rights?
- 55:28 Benevolence of Jobs?
- 57:49 Thinking in Aggregates
(This transcript needs work. We'll fix it soon! Please bear with us in the meantime)
Daniel Forkner: [0:08] Before the application of the steam engine to see vessels both Merchant and navy ships required a ton of Labor to operate the semen the Captain's Room needed for their ships did not have to be skilled or literate but they needed a lot of them and they were always in short supply. The British royal Navy got around this in part by the practice of impressment which just means they forced people into service.
Daniel Forkner: [0:34] This was actually one of the major grievances America had against Great Britain in the lead up to the War of 1812 Great Britain employed a trade block gate against France. The help Supply there Navy the British royal Navy simply stole Americans off Merchant ships. And the practice must have inspired American entrepreneurs because we developed our own practice of forcing people into the life at sea. In 1848 when gold was discovered in California the demand for American ships skyrocketed both from people trying to get to the West Coast by ship.
Daniel Forkner: [1:10] As well as the increased demand for goods but is always semen work hard to acquire and maintain.
[1:24] Masters who owned hotels bars brothels and other establishments through which they could drug intoxicate or otherwise render men unconscious through violet.
Daniel Forkner: [1:36] And then deliver them to ships where they would become semen until death or.
[1:48] Shanghai relied on this practice and the man who did the work became known as cramps. And this was not a small-scale eccentric practice these were major criminal networks that some estimate to have supplied up to 20% of ship labor in the United States during the last half of the 19th century. Prince made a ton of money since Captain's could pay up to 2 months Advanced wages to any sailor which the crimps collected for themselves on top of other fees and I used this money to Lobby Congress and bribe politicians and law enforcement. Crimping was in full force and New York San Francisco Portland Boston and many other port cities and towns along the east and west coast. And like all organized crime a few Infamous characters emerged, from Shanghai Kelly and San Francisco who in 1875 held a party on the water and a side-wheeler drug nearly 100 of his guests and then deliver them to three separate vessels to become enslaved semen. Others women like Miss piglet on boarding houses with trap doors through which perfectum spell through.
David Torcivia: [2:59] Equal opportunity slaving.
Daniel Forkner: [3:01] Men and women alike. But this practice was all but dead by 1915 and ultimately the steamship is credited the most with ending this practice simply because fewer and more skilled men were required to operate those ship.
David Torcivia: [3:20] You know a lot of this history lesson here Daniel is in the 1800's the late 1800s early 1900s.
Pirates [3:27] But this practice predates this by centuries I mean it's always been going on as long as people have been traveling by sea Haven capturing people and forcing them to help them do just that I mean we had this ended think of Spartacus this vessel where you go blow the decks and all these orders are being pulled by slaves it's not a new idea or topic, and I'm I'm getting off track already here at the beginning of this episode but I mean this is actually what led to a lot of pirate ships where we have this modern image day of these evil Pirate Seas like rapscallion said, Deportes in a rape and pillage, but for a lot of people up pirate ship was them escaping the slaving system.
[4:07] I'm coming to a group of people sharing their bounties equally among the crew instead of just one captain or something taking it all of it or some Merchants to isn't even on the boat that puts the bill and get the prophets of the journey instead they say you know what this is wrong being a slave is wrong we need to take control of Our Lives join together have some sort of solidarity and be on the ship as equal crew members and it was pirates that was the vast majority of superheroes it in one sentence and a lot of local towns along the coast in and Islands would defend Pirates actually from the the government organizations that would pay some down the British the Spanish whatever and when a pirate got tired of the pirate life and they came to retire in these towns and then you know lo and behold at some point of government official comes to track them down and charge them for their crimes the townspeople instead of turning them over like we would expect with our modern pirate fiction in fact would defend them would hide them would keep them safe from the government because they had this much problem with these people as the Pirates did and most townspeople respected Pirates they saw them as members who were fighting against an unjust system. And I'm already off topic like I said but I love Pirates I could do a whole thing on the Pirates right now.
Daniel Forkner: [5:19] What you ran on pirate is beginning to sound a little anti-American David but you know actually Pirates are going to come back into the show and part 2 when we talk about some of the modern pirates that have made their way into the mainstream and how our image of them has been shaved in part by what we're going to be talking about today and next week. But you know that history lesson at the beginning as horror thick as it is. It's in the past right I mean slavery it which is what that was was widespread in the past and in the ancient world but today. Every country around the world slavery is illegal.
David Torcivia: [5:55] Well that's great news I don't know why we're bothering to do this show in the first place because it sounds like the problem has already been solved.
Daniel Forkner: [6:02] Or has it.
David Torcivia: [6:04] On David torcivia.
Daniel Forkner: [6:05] I'm Daniel forkner.
David Torcivia: [6:06] And this is ashes ashes show about systemic issues cracks in civilization collapse the environment and if we're unlucky the end of the world.
Daniel Forkner: [6:16] But if we learn from all of this maybe we can stop that the world might be broken but it doesn't have to be. Despite Universal condemnation of slavery and its Universal illegality there are more slaves than ever before and they are cheaper and more disposable than they have ever been.
David Torcivia: [6:35] When we start talking about numbers on this topic it's sort of a touchy thing and depending on how you estimate this what constitutes a Slave, these numbers will adjust pretty wildly and in the context of this episode we're not going to talking about a lot of, things have probably could be considered slavery and it said using like the very base definition that the you and all these other human rights organizations will use in a report about slavery so this means like prison labor is definitely slavery even though it's paid technically is not part of these numbers on this means wage slavery this means some places where people are compelled to work to survive. Technically could leave that's not slavery even though it basically is so I will we were using the strictest possible definition of slavery in the context of this show.
Daniel Forkner: [7:20] And in addition we're also not give me talking about sex trafficking and sex slavery although that may be part of these numbers it's a topic that deserves its own show and one that were not prepared to do it this time.
David Torcivia: [7:32] Yeah at least it's such a huge topic that's something we will dedicate time to. First when you just get this general idea of slavery that is such a huge thing to tackle out of the way at first. Okay so the wrong numbers here and again this is the most amount of slaves there have ever been in human history.
Slaves By The Numbers [7:49] So despite these like we mentioned in the best of times episodes despite how great people say everything is right now we are still at a point where there are more people enslaved in every four and that number is over 40 million people. True absolute slaves and it any moment there's another 600 million people who could become a slave at any single. And this isn't limited to just places where we traditionally think about slavery so developing nations places that are notorious for the human rights abuse like Bangladesh guitar whatever happens right here in the United States as well we have over 57,000 traditional slaves in this nation at this moment.
Daniel Forkner: [8:31] Around the world 71% of the slaves are women and girls 25% are children and that doesn't include the 150 million children that are estimated to be used for labor outside of this very clear definition of slavery.
David Torcivia: [8:46] Much of which are working in the fashion industry as we discussed in the past most of the slaves are in Africa the asian-pacific Europe and Central Asia but like as we mentioned it's a problem that is universal and can be found in every single country on Earth.
Daniel Forkner: [9:01] And we mentioned that acquiring people for slavery is cheaper than it's ever been according to free the slaves. Net in the American South in 1850 the cost of one slave averaged $40,000 in today's value and today worldwide the average cost of a slave is just $90 and that ranges from $0 for a slave in the Amazon rainforest $30 for a child slave in Bangladeshi fish market.
David Torcivia: [9:30] And according to UNICEF around 200,000 children are kidnapped every single year in Western Africa and sold on Cocoa plantations for about 200 Euros. In fact 80% of the chocolate sold in European stores comes from these children slaves.
Daniel Forkner: [9:47] And Libya a person trying to migrate to a better life can be converted to hard prison labor for no more than $500.
David Torcivia: [9:56] Or for someone operating a business in the United States the price of a slave here well that might be as high as $10,000 which I mean if you compare it back to those 1800 play figures is quite the bargain.
Daniel Forkner: [10:08] And definitely a bargain compared to the wages they would be required to pay under us law, and this cost overall has been driven down because the number of vulnerable people and access to them has exploded over the decades, overpopulation has caused the growth of people to outpace the growth of mini economies and environmental destruction and conflict has displaced millions of people who find themselves without a home without a job, without money or communities to support them.
David Torcivia: [10:39] This explosion of vulnerability also means that in the eyes of many slaveholders people are disposable people are often worked into the become sick or too weak to work. At which point there's simply replaced with someone else in many cases after being killed or left to die.
Daniel Forkner: [10:56] At the same time many local governments are complicit in the practice of slavery as we'll see. And you know the number of products that are produced by the hands of people in slavery is staggering and it encompasses so much of our global economy.
David Torcivia: [11:12] And I really want to drive home this point that we just briefly mention and that's the fact that much of the way that we live our current life nothing just talking about consumption in the products at these slaves end up ultimately building for us but the very population of the Earth, the disparity and inequality in our economies the destruction of climate from our huge amount of consumption and overproduction of energy. And the general pollution and war that spirals out of all of these ideas about geopolitics about economic growth is what's fueling this very practice of slavery is what made it bigger now than ever before, and at the same time all these systems that contribute to creating this problem to make me a bigger than ever they depend in large part on the labor of the slaves in a vicious cycle that continues to make the problem worse and not better.
Daniel Forkner: [12:04] The number of products that are produced by the hands of people in slavery is staggering when you start to look at it I mean he was just a short list we have a range of seafood products like shrimp and tuna imported into you the United States and Europe.
Diversity Of Products David Torcivia: [12:19] Huge huge amount of slaves.
Daniel Forkner: [12:21] Rick's one of the oldest slave operations in the world continues to be made at the hands of slaves today.
David Torcivia: [12:28] And this week mentioned in earlier episodes the fashion industry of the world the production of garments depends largely on slave labor.
Daniel Forkner: [12:36] The vegetables crops and countless other food commodities that we eat everyday much of them are made by slaves the carpet in our homes the gold diamonds and other precious metals and minerals that we wear around their necks.
David Torcivia: [12:50] The Cobalt in our electric cars and batteries.
Daniel Forkner: [12:53] Much of the iron that is found in our plumbing our cars and the appliances in our homes were smelted down with charcoal it was produced by armies of slaves illegally chopping down swaths of the Amazon forest in Africa and Mangrove forests in Asia, and the list goes on and on.
David Torcivia: [13:12] Actually one of my favorite examples and I may be favourites not the right word to use your butt one of us interesting things that might surprise you because I know what surprised me is that actually tombstones are Wendy's major products produced by slaves India is one of the world's largest exporters of granite. So I mean the countertops that go into your expensive American or european kitchens the Sandstone slabs that cities all around the world used to pave their fancy blouses with and of course the Tombstones and monuments that we use to Mark the Dead all of these often come from the developing world because of how cheap they can be acquired largely because of this slave labor. Credits heart mine I mean part of the appeal is that it comes in the giant huge slabs and it is actually kind of cool to watch Granite mining if you want to be YouTube that but these can be cut into all sorts of different shapes that can be fit into whatever it is you need whether it's a kitchen countertop or or a particular graveyard but if he using hand tools that means a lot of tedious chiseling and very careful handling of the Finish material so it doesn't crack so how can be so cheap when does huge blocks of stone need to be literally cut out of Mountain sides by hand will the answer of course as slaves and in many cases be slaves are treated through an Insidious and the legal system of debt bondage which will get into in just a little bit.
Daniel Forkner: [14:33] And we mentioned at the top of the show that 600 million people around the world are currently vulnerable to slavery and that number will rise as automation as we talked about in episode 27 continues to displace.
The "Third World" And The Environment [15:24] And at the beginning of the show how a lot of the slavery is fueled by the economy and I think this is an important point to bring up and something we want to get across which is you're so often you hear some of these like quasi racist Notions about the quote on quote third world and how people in the developing world you know they're not educated they're having too many babies and their the main reasons why we have overpopulation and too much pollution in the world and why can't they just be like our richer societies with our Freedom are right our Environmental Protection. And I think one thing we have to realize is that, these people who are forced into slavery it's not because their countries are backward is not because their culture is primitive it's because they are explicitly serving the rich world that's why they exist. They exist because we demand them I mean you consider the fact that the Democratic Republic of the Congo is one of the poorest countries in the world. Yet it has some of the most valued resources globally 80% of the global demand for Colton which goes into the incredibly expensive tech gadgets that are bought everywhere is found under the ground in the Congo. About how is it that a country that has the richest resources can be the poorest country, it's only because this insatiable International demand for this wealth is driving, armed conflicts slavery tile labor and suffering.
[16:52] The people mining this Colton oftentimes especially when they're part of the slave operations they don't even know what the resources for they have no idea what it's going to be used for this is not something that people are willingly taking part and it's something that is forced upon them and not force comes from the top Global demand that we drive from rich countries but hopefully this is something that will become more clear as we go on. But you know David there's something else similar to this that I was actually surprised to learn which is so much of the slavery that goes on around the world, is not just a result of environmental destruction but it's also a driver of environmental destruction. Going into the show I expected that slavery would be a necessary component over industrial economy as part of the supply chain that the producers all the goods we need what I didn't expect was slavery itself to be this huge contributor to climate change and the wholesale destruction of the planet. And going back to This Racist notion that people in the third world are just destroying their environment out of ignorance and we like to blame poachers for killing endangered species for exotic luxury goods but missing from these discussions are the global forces driving these people to destroy the very land that they depend on.
David Torcivia: [18:08] Earlier we mentioned it one of the major tasks that slavers are forcing people to do is cut down huge swaths of forest of rainforest of old-growth forests in order to generate charcoal to a cell that two people to smelt iron ore or whatever it is this the agriculture that fishing movies activities remain economically possible solely through slavery in the very cheap labor that comes along with it add up to be the third largest emitter of carbon dioxide by industry so we group together everyone doing slave labor is the third most polluting industry in terms of CO2 in the world.
Daniel Forkner: [18:45] And that's not to mention David that a big international company that is logging trees is contributing to environmental destruction no doubt but there are also often at least in part responsible to some minimal form of Regulation. Someone who's running a slave operation by definition is outside of the law they care nothing about our standards for Environmental Protection so when they go into a forest and they clear for charcoal or they go in to clear some land to mine Granite they often leave so much destruction the whole ecosystems collapse in the wake in the Congo gorillas hippopotamus and other species are decimated by slavers marching through Forest destroying everything in sight just to get out these precious metals that were demanding in our Electronics.
David Torcivia: [19:31] Exactly and in many of these acts of environmental destruction that are committed by slaves I don't want it assign the blame to them but ultimately they're the ones with the axe or with the shovel or whatever so end in the context of this out support the activities of these major multinational corporations who needs somebody to be able to do this dirty work to get the stuff to them and pass it down to change supplies until it becomes clean of the slave labor that who knows where this stuff came from but all I know is now is that it's cheap American verify because it was passed off to some black market whatever a Wheels and Deals that it wasn't perpetrated by slaves on paper and so now I can have my production my cheap price and I can ignore the environmental consequences of the actions and ultimately of us as consumers that demand the products that these multinationals are producing.
[20:24] So when you hear startling facts about how much of the Amazon was cut down or some other rainforest with shredded, will you see photos of some environmental destruction from a strip mine somewhere try and separate this action from the very likely slaves that committed it and remember that these atrocities are committed ultimately in your name. To fulfill your drive to consume and then maybe it's not as you individually because you decided to I've seen the error of my ways and I'm good at before myself but spy enlarged this consumption is driven by Americans and Europeans, and we are responsible for these environmental crimes and the labor crimes and an able to.
Vicious Cycle Daniel Forkner: [21:04] David it's really a vicious cycle that's going on that reinforces itself you know at the very beginning of the.
[21:17] Industrial practices are outputting of CO2 are deforestation we are fueling climate change through our consumption. And that adversely impacts the poor desert ification swallows Villages hurricanes and violent storms flood Coast, forest fires destroy places that people live.
[21:35] And those at the greatest risk for these environmental catastrophes are often the poor who don't have the option to go anywhere else. They're often in places at greater risk for these events in the first place so it resulted the displacing of millions of people and from these displaced people, millions of people vulnerable to exploitation this is where the slaves come from, hey what's so sad about this is that these people who become slaves because they were displaced from their homes to the survival of Destruction will they are then forced to work manually destroying the environment even more cutting down the trees in their homes one by one strip mining illegal fishing draining their Rivers for those sand mafias that we talked about. To ultimately produce these Commodities that we demand by our consumption here in the global North. Which again feels does climate change even more it's an endless cycle of Destruction and exploitation. And of course is not just catastrophic weather events but you know environmental erosion in general which makes these people vulnerable by taking away their livelihood this is the collapse of lake and river ecosystem for the poisoning of soils a lot of mining operations leave behind them awake of mercury poisoning which poisons the water that people drink and the food that they eat.
[22:55] And in his book Blood and Earth modern slavery ecocide in the secret to save in the world, Kevin Bales offers a framework for understanding how this vicious cycle can play out in Conflict locally within countries where we find the raw resources for our commodities.
Global Demand; Local Conflict David Torcivia: [23:12] In the wealthy part of the world company somewhere and now ounces some new product that everyone goes crazy for we all need this product. Is Kadeem iPad or some other Gadget it's fun to play with me all One Step 2 is that somewhere in the world and usually in the developing World in natural resource that people live among and that goes into making this product someone becomes extremely valuable. Violence in corruption follows this in a desperate grab to choir this resource what's the profit of this process goes into purchasing weapons to maintain territorial control and then Civil War is that a high risk of outbreak.
Daniel Forkner: [23:50] Next David.
[24:07] On to their workers to keep them inline their slaves and finally wants these systems stabilize and its territories established variety of legal structures can emerge that works to maintain the system of slavery and exploitation the most tried-and-true method of course being convict labor like we here in the United States all immediately following emancipation. And this continues to a large extent all over the world today.
David Torcivia: [24:34] Tooth looking an actual example that plays out quite a bit for this we're going to turn.
Conflict Mineral Supply Chain [24:39] The Democratic Republic of Congo where there is a wide amount of slavery abuse of a labor abuse and a vast amount of minerals that we need to support most of our high-tech Society. So we're going to look at this sort of step-by-step but at the different levels of this process would have been understanding of how we move from slave to you or me to the bottom level of course are the slaves themselves and often times especially in a place like Democratic Republic of Congo these aren't necessarily bought I can Open Air Market like you could find and Livia but rather through various local conflicts these are people who are forced quite literally at gunpoint are often times but often as well through debt or teenage. And held down to work in these mines and in order is maintained through the threat of violence and also especially with women that a threat of sexual abuse Andaman and many of these people are very young and there's a lot of child laborers in this process so I mean this is the bottom level and really the people that we need to focus on and remember all the way the end of this chain that made the impossible.
Daniel Forkner: [25:45] The next level of the supply chain getting us closer to that end product that we consume, are the soldiers the officials the local businessman traffickers police and other people directly involved in capturing profiting from an abusing people for slavery.
David Torcivia: [26:02] Above that are the businessmen who make this all profitable these are the merchants & mittleman convert is dirty raw product gathered by slave labor smuggle this into a system whether it's by paperwork or by quite literally smiling into something that can be purchased by the legitimate business people and make its way down to products chain with a nice logo on it says no slavery involved.
Daniel Forkner: [26:25] Using the Congo for an example a lot of the raw materials that are mined illegally in the Congo are smuggled by these middleman into Rwanda and the trading houses there where it is then repackaged and sold as a Rwandan raw material and he creates an interesting situation where we want it has been known to export more raw materials than they have a record of mine and it's because a lot of it is being smuggled across the border.
David Torcivia: [26:51] I think there's even some instances of exports from a Wanda of a materials that they don't even really have any of the economically viable mind because if you came from of course one of these neighboring Nations.
Daniel Forkner: [27:04] Once you get about these trading houses where those materials are relabeled repackaged and mixed with other Goods you have the businesses in Europe us an angel to purchase these raw materials and process them.
David Torcivia: [27:16] And from there we enter what is the traditional Supply Rebel me think of the process of creating a phone or iPad or something it goes from these raw materials to a company that makes tiny bits of electronics somebody else had Assemble season 2 circuit boards and they are ultimately assembled into final products than packaged shipped across the world and then finally find their way to the retailer and we enter purchase from and take home enjoy your new toy.
Daniel Forkner: [27:43] I'm so for certain raw material there could be 11 steps in the supply chain wear this one mineral changes hands is repackaged and transferred across borders and these large companies no this is Apple this is IBM when they are criticized for the slave labor that goes into their products they point at the supply chain is they look it is so difficult to figure out where these things come from that we can't possibly be responsible but of course there a little bit disingenuous when they say that they do their best to avoid conflict minerals because there are organizations that have figured out systems for inspecting mines for their labor and environmental practices and then tagging and tracking the raw material that comes out of those mines but the corporations competing for the largest slice of electronics and other Goods they're not backing these organizations and part of it is because of the cost that would be associated with using better Source materials but also it's because in a way it's a way to avoid culpability for many corporations the idea of supporting an organization that would ensure that they're not purchasing slave labor materials is an admission that they have been doing this already and some companies just don't want to open themselves up to that liability.
Debt Path To Slavery David Torcivia: [28:56] Okay Daniel so we discussed quite a bit the topic of what exactly is going on what processes and nabal is practice in the first place but maybe we shouldn't talk about how some of these people end up as slaves in the first place I mean that's not just you know you don't want down the street somebody like black bags to you and put you in a van and pulls you offices. You're asleep.
Daniel Forkner: [29:15] Unless you're a victim of Shanghai Kelly David.
David Torcivia: [29:18] Exactly but I mean for most of it the less obvious way and maybe more Insidious because of that.
Daniel Forkner: [29:24] That's right David in the most common way to capture a slave is through debt in almost every type of slave operation it seems you can find stories of debt bondage, whether it's fishing brick making mining it's a familiar story desperate people looking for work are told that they can find it with recruiter who offers Advanced wages upfront and a promise of payment after reset. Like 3 months during this period they might be beaten they endure dangerous conditions their denied Medical Care and at the end of the initial. When it's time to collect their payment they are instead informed that they owe more money than they earned and they never leave, it was especially sad is how many slaves caught in this debt trap believe that it's their own fault they believe their bosses when they are told they haven't worked hard enough to pay their debts, and they continue to toil sometimes four years if they figure out the true nature of their work and try to resist or try to escape their met with violence.
David Torcivia: [30:24] This idea is actually one of the major reasons why we devoted entire show just to the concept of. What's up our conversations about that at least in terms of collapse or here in America or the European Union or about Nation deaths or about maybe student loan debts or things that forces to working jobs that we don't want to order to make hard choices when it comes to budgets of our of our countries, but for the vast majority of the world debt has become a life-or-death situation where you are forced to take on Loans To Survive. And people take advantage of this to take advantage of your weakness in the situation and you end up next thing you know working for the rest of your life often times to the death. Because a rapidly developing economy around you left you behind because you couldn't afford with a suddenly dramatically higher cost of living because of Statistics that normally would be celebrated by places like the IMF like the World Bank about how much more money interest in economy but often times at money is an equally distributed. And the side effect of this unequal distribution unfortunately slavery.
Daniel Forkner: [31:31] Taking advantage of people who are desperate for a little bit of income that's why there are 600 million people around the world vulnerable and at-risk to slavery today. Because slavery is made possible by the desperation of people to make a wage in order to survive and The Lure of some form of job promised to them by a charismatic recruiter or a persuasive boss, in many mines in the Congo for example a would be labor must pay to enter the camp but then if they ever want to leave they have to pay any debt they have accrued inside the camp but everything is taxed if they eat food it's taxed if they drink water it's taxed but they sleep on a bed it stacked the very tools that used to do the work comes at a price, the system is rigged to make sure that that can never be repaid and this is work Infamous for terrible conditions in Colton mines for example flavors are exposed to Carbonic gas there are freaky collapses that bury people alive in gold and other mines around the world Labor's who work day and night chilling at Rock, inhale small particles of rock and metal that scar their lung tissue the results of something called silicosis that ultimately ends in a very painful death.
[32:47] You know I have to stop here for a second David because there's something that perplexes me which is you every now and then we find global coverage in our media some tragic event where know maybe it's miners in Chile that get trapped or children in Thailand to get stuck in a cave in these are terrible events I'm not disputing that but we also are completely ignoring the fact that people are buried in mind every single day and not a soul even tries to find it because they can just be replaced by another desperate person, and going along with this debt bondage when the slaves died very often the debt that they have accrued is passed down to their family many children grow up knowing nothing but slavery.
David Torcivia: [33:28] What was supposed to give another example here to turn this into a very real thing and a great example specially of debt bondage and people who are enslaved by their debt is Malaysia.
Malaysia Daniel Forkner: [33:39] Malaysia is very important to the global economy let me read you real quick David what the World Bank says about Malaysia okay are you ready.
David Torcivia: [33:46] Who might my favorite group gone.
Daniel Forkner: [33:50] Since gaining independence in 1957 Malaysia has successfully Diversified its economy someone that was initially agriculture in commodity-based to one that now plays host a robust manufacturing and service sectors that have propelled it to become a leading exporter of electrical appliances Malaysia is one of the most open economies in the world, open this to trade and investment Have Been instrumental in employment creation and income growth with about 40% of jobs linked to export activities, and less than 1% of Malaysian households live in extreme poverty Malaysia's near-term economic Outlook remains favorable reflecting a well-diversified an open economy that has successfully whether the impact of external shocks.
David Torcivia: [34:35] It's a beautiful quote from the World Bank Daniel but instead let's look at what the US state department has to say about Malaysia. In 2014 at the US state department office to Monitor and combat trafficking in persons that's a mouthful of that that's the name of the department, they ranked Malaysia among the worst countries in the world for human trafficking. Countries whose governments do not fully meet the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so and quote that so that that's the the bar that they're using to measure and in 2017 the ranking for Malaysia have been upgraded slightly to quote still does not mean that minimum standards and coal for human trafficking but the government is sort of kind of trying. And even that upgrade angered many human rights activist who claimed actually when you look at what's really been done to the ground well it's nothing at all.
Daniel Forkner: [35:28] There are an estimated 2 million documented foreign workers in Malaysia with an additional 2 million estimated to be undocumented. Forced labor debt bondage human trafficking and slavery are found in many sectors of the economy domestic work in service jobs like Hospitality agriculture construction Electronics assembly fishing boats and more to say nothing of the women who are trafficked into sex slavery on the promise of a decent job. Before even leaving their country of origin many foreign workers up to 92% of them that are coming to Malaysia pay recruiters large fees to secure a job this means that an entire family can go into massive debt before a single person has even left home.
David Torcivia: [36:13] And the emphasis on family here is important. Because when the fee is so high like you mentioned Daniel entire family might go into debt before some mortgage their home. So that one person can't afford the fee with the hope that eventually that worker will send a share of their wages back home and make up the difference of course what happens so often is when they arrive in Malaysia they barely make enough money to even feed themselves much less than money back to their children parents and the rest of their families.
Daniel Forkner: [36:42] In addition because people often find themselves in enormous debt by the time they arrive in the big city after they have paid one recruiter then another recruiter than their visa fees and their employment fees and their housing fees. They can easily be forced to accept contracts different than the ones they were promised according to the US state department quote some Malaysian employers reportedly withheld 3 to 9 months wages from foreign domestic workers in order to recoup recruitment agency fees and other debt Bonds in quote and some employers illegally confiscated workers Visas so that in the event they leave the job they become undocumented and at risk of violent deportation.
David Torcivia: [37:24] It's easy to see here how. What you getting whooped we go back to the original origins of it was intended to tie communities together to build a strong bond between people who live together supported each other and were encouraged to do this by this day, now it's tearing families apart destroying lives and it's doing people to life of servitude and ultimately death. This is how dad has been weaponized on both the individual scale like we're seeing right here as well as nation-states and Beyond.
Vulnerability Through Migration Daniel Forkner: [37:53] And what is also clear in all these examples and more is that people are vulnerable of course when they lack an income but they're also most vulnerable when they're moving from one place to another these are people who are trying to migrate to Better Lives, these are where their most vulnerable because they don't exist in a community they don't have people that they can easily contact and rely on for support they may not have good documents that even allow them to be in the country they're trying to get through. And they become very easy to exploit so many people living in sub-sahara Africa they're seeking better lives and routes through Libya to Europe. But they end up on open-air slave markets before crossing the Mediterranean human traffickers take advantage of people with little money by selling them to private prisons in Libya where they worked as slaves until they either die or sold off to another slavery which can really only send them back to the same life they were trying to escape from and these individuals that wind up in these Libya slave markets are sold for between 200 and $500.
David Torcivia: [39:01] And remember that a lot of these people that end up as migrants are fleeing something sometimes it's conditions brought on by climate change sometimes it's Local Economic collapse because of groups like The IMF the World Bank that Lebanese debts or sanctions that Nations like the United States like to deploy is a tool in order to get whatever concessions that they necessarily want from a group or from a block or whatever it is, sometimes it's combat often over these resources that we need off of the geopolitical conflicts that we see spinning up because of the large games and Maki nations of these developed countries utilizing their influence on the developing World in order to increase the wealth of their citizens at the expense of the rest of the world these migrants don't happen in a bubble. Don't just appear out of nowhere for no reason are created by the actions of Nations around the world. End of the multinationals and ngos that operate in between their borders.
Daniel Forkner: [39:56] We haven't talked a lot about the actual products that we consume that is made by the slate and in some of the conditions they are exposed to.
Seafood [40:04] I think it's a good place to just take a really important example that we're probably all part of in some way and that's the seafood industry. In Bangladesh a 19 year old man told his story working as a slave processing fish when he was a kid. A job recruiter came to his village and offered his parents $30 to allow their boy to come work cutting and drying fish the recruiter promised that the work was easy the workers were well-fed and that they would send a share of the boys wages home to his parents the family thought about it and they all agreed and the boy left of course he was taken to an island where he was forced into hard labor along several other boys where they had to make their own shelter they work Non-Stop and cold and wet conditions often for 24 hours at a time they were fed a meal once each day that consisted of a cup and a half of lentils that they split between 12 of them. And boys that were injured or could not keep up simply dyed their bodies tossed in the local Forest Escape was Unthinkable because on the other side of this fishing camp was tigers.
David Torcivia: [41:11] Fishing is actually one of the major industries where we see this slavery occur so this lately where that is now abundant in fishing operations around the world are a direct, result of this rise in the global fish trade show in the past fish markets in places like South East Asia War supplied by families independent Fisher's small communities you know a sustainable. But today the global demand for fish it's made possible by advances in logistics technology so this is things like freezers on cargo ships the ability to quickly fly fresh food anywhere in the world, this is fueled the rise of factory like.
[42:06] Is operations with their tongue boat on land where the action of clearing this land it all needs labor and to be economically viable he needs cheap labor. In 1950s America shrimp and other Seafood practices were often when serious and special occasion meals but today they are cheap and plentiful.
Daniel Forkner: [42:25] And in the same way that the Garment manufacturers that Supply the bulk of our fashion demands full their buyers by showing off model factories while subcontracting out the bulk of their orders to let scrupulous one, the shrimp industry works the same way once the strength is farmed by workers and slaves living on Dyke's and patches of cleared Forest that borders the territories of tigers women slave labor up to 80 hours a week in processing plants where they are beaten, and denied pay these ship processing factories are often subcontractors that avoid that scrupulous investigation by larger companies that end up buying these products. And you Edward talking about fishing we mention at the beginning of the show that you can buy a slave in the United States, Vanessa seems unheard of right but this is something that continues to go on despite being given a lot of tension in 2016 and that's in the fishing trade just outside the border of Hawaii.
David Torcivia: [43:23] This is this is for whatever reason I think it's one of the stories that hits me artist when I read about it for me for one maybe it's because it said these are off the coast of Hawaii so I mean this is international waters but technically I think it falls under at least in the way I think about it this is the responsibility of the United States which likes to talk. Talk about equality and freedom and stuff, into there's something in the heartbreaking about the stories it was for getting to know II about these people and the fact that you're caught on this tiny boat you have no choice you can't leave cuz you're in the middle of an ocean and his boats never pulled into docks it don't let these people off this is your world. Is wide world that we live in the beauty of it is lost and you're trapped in these confines of this small fishing boat in the middle of this vast ocean and that's all you know but I'm getting ahead of myself.
Daniel Forkner: [44:11] Talking about whose responsibility is these are American companies that own American fishing boats and they're looking for some cheap labor. There's just one problem how do they get the cheap labor the workers that they end up hiring are not legally allowed to enter the United States so what they end up doing is this kind of very confusing. Legal loophole that is kind of hard to understand but essentially it is because the workers they want to hire cannot be flown into the United States because they wouldn't be allowed on a plane. The ship captains pay around 10.
[44:53] And then this migrant worker is delivered to a boat somewhere that then crosses international waters and delivers this person to a United States fishing boats. Then the captain pulls into the port and because anybody entering the United States on these ports has to be inspected by customs and the Border Patrol. Well this foreign workers then presented to an officer of the United States who then reject this person cuz you are not allowed to come into the United States and here's a document saying that you're not allowed to come into the United States. Then the boat captain takes that document to Hawaiian state officials it says can you please Grant this worker a commercial fishing license he has documentation here it is. And the Hawaiian state official will then Grant this commercial fishing license to the boat captain. To allow this migrant worker to fish on the United States commercial vessel while still admitting that he's not.
[46:10] Well below American Standards and they're often subject to abuse some captains have been known to refuse fisherman on their boat the ability to speak their own language sometimes they are physically abused obviously sometimes they lack adequate food and Medical Care. And another irony be federal agent that blocks is worker from coming to the United States initially demands that the captain confiscate this person's passport to not only are they stuck on this boat they don't have their passport anymore they can't they literally have nowhere to go.
David Torcivia: [46:42] Yeah that that's so common in these stories to wear even if somebody is legally allowed to enter or leave countries and and has a passport often times their seeds so that you will effectively lose the ability to exist in this country and if you've been anything they can pick you up lock you up to Port you whatever it is you need to do any use this subtle piece of paper and the fact that this person no longer controls it as a threat of violence. Threat of calling in the state to execute this violence in a legal bureaucratic way.
Daniel Forkner: [47:11] It really is kind of messed up one of these boats actually pulled into Port one time, the the fishermen are supposed to stay on the boat but they ventured a little bit into the port in order to use the restroom I think one man tried to get a drink at a local bar, and they were all deported immediately by immigration because they step too close to land.
David Torcivia: [47:32] Yeah I mean we're totally okay exploding them for their labor but should you come into our land and sorry but you got to go home that's not legal here but of course to slavery occur in international waters what will just look the other way.
Daniel Forkner: [47:47] And as minimal as some of the wages are that are paid to these fisherman some captains actually withhold these for years and just don't pay them at all totally violating their contract but of course what is a contract worth in this situation in the first place it's all messed up.
David Torcivia: [48:01] In this talk of passports and of the permissions of nations of the bureaucratic processes that enable and protect the slavers and punish the enslaved
What Are Rights? [48:10] I think it's really important here and there whether we need to drive home this idea of the conception of a well of rights cuz when we think about a nation a place like the United States or Malaysia or the Democratic Republic of Congo and we talk a lot what what is a nation-state you know and then some people will say it's a group of people to come together we believe in certain things we've approved a constitutional rule of law together and that protects us and enables us to control our destiny collectively that's what it nation is and others might look at this and say well you know that's sort of true but ultimately would a nation is its about the expression of Viola the fact that a nation is the soul. Writer of righteous violence and we can deploy police in certain ways to restrict your right so we can deploy military to be aggressive against people within our nation and those beyond our borders and that we can deny people rights, throughout a bureaucratic process or maybe even the application of this violence directly.
[49:07] For me ordination ultimately is and end with all these other things evolve out of is the fact that a nation is about rights. Indian that is the core of what makes a nation a nation. If I could I can guarantee rights that I can defend those right and it can apply them. In the discussion of Rights is very complicated one it's very philosophical there's lots of different ideas of what a right is, how to apply to Nations themselves and most will either fall to the camp that we have these Divine rights that the very Act of existing as a human grants us these rights.
[49:41] I mean we see this in the United States Declaration of Independence which is one of the first documents to establish really this idea of divine natural rights, the famous phrase we hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are life. Liberty and the pursuit of happiness other nations of the Philosopher's took this idea They carried it and developed it we saw the Declaration of Rights of Man and citizen appear during the French Revolution and these things are carried over into the Constitutions of many nations around the world into our ideas of political philosophy into the very way that we interact with the world as individuals the way that the UN deploys it ideas of certain human rights this very concept is involved from this original idea. But I'm not so sure how true it is because it sounds nice on paper. That we are born with these rights and if they can be the only taken away by the actions of others but in fact I think rights actually are about denying the rights of others. We nation is formed it can guarantee rights to its citizens but only by denying those rights to the rest of the world. And that's what separates One Nation from another.
Daniel Forkner: [50:58] What do you mean David.
David Torcivia: [50:59] Can you look at it this way I'm the United States I guarantee all these rights to individuals of my country I mean we have the Bill of Rights.
Daniel Forkner: [51:07] Thank you Uncle Sam.
David Torcivia: [51:09] Yeah thank you founding fathers you gave us all these things to the Bill of Rights is things that spell out exactly is what I'm entitled to as an American citizen. But the unsaid implication of the application of these rights to me as a citizen is that no one else in the world gets these rights. If these rights are unique to the citizens of this nation and if these were true of these were actually unalienable Divine rights bestowed by our creator to use their own language and it shouldn't matter what nation you come from every nation should respect these rights and yes we have treaties among each other that Ezio Lobel extradite you and you could then we'll deal with their rights over own citizens over here blah blah blah but that is just bureaucratic Nest disguise the fact that rights are about to 9 this idea of divine rights of everyone else on the world. Or more frequently to even our own citizens who we don't want to apply these rights to for the founding fathers this was the slaves for the ancient Greeks it was the Voting Rights anybody except the property men and that same idea cute very recently throughout the political history of the world. I mean women have been voting in much of the world for less than a hundred years some places they still can't rights have always been about just throwing these ideas on to a selected group of people. You're not Universal as much as the UN as much as the human rights organizations might attempt to push this idea it's in their name but it's a falsity not true.
[52:32] Rights are neatly about the nine is protections from everyone else and no one gets his deal shorter than those of us who have no States. So a migrant was forced from their home with passport is taken away with held by employer with splits their labor. This person is effectively stripped of all their rights because they have no state to back them up anymore and their Divine Creator who supposedly bestows them with these rights to Freedom with Liberty. Well then nowhere to be found. Rights are about 9 those very things and for the millions of slaves around the world the millions of migrants who are forced from their homes by the actions of others whether it's climate change whether it's conflict weathers economic destruction. Are thrust into a world with no rights are at the mercy of others and their benevolence and so frequently people take advantage of this. They take advantage of their vulnerability. Ain't sleeping babe use them they capture them and force them into lives that do not reflect these Divine rights that we supposedly all share there's no one is there to protect them no State step into defending. No one is there to actually give them rights.
[53:46] Business famous phrase that right to have rights it's the idea that we all ultimately when our rights are stripped from us have only one right left. Ability to have rights if this is the right we're all other rights emerge from. It's a nice story it's a nice idea and it's a big motivator for the various human rights organizations of the world that we should all at Nate Lee be allowed to step into these rights to be protected by them. But as long as their economic systems as long as the states of the world are not interested in granting these rights to the individuals who need them more than anyone. This is just a nice story the fantasy maybe something to Aspire to in a better world if that's not the world we face today because of the systems that we built. We depend on the stripping of Rights will get into this and part two of the show. And what specific examples of how the enslaved around the world are building our world building events that we all celebrate things that are supposed to unify us like the next World Cup that's coming in Qatar and Mabel in large part by slave labor.
[54:48] Will benefit from the stripping of Rights of others it's one enables us to live our lives in our decadence that we enjoy. So many of the government's around the world justify their existence. The variability to guarantee these rights because of this language of protecting these Divine rights but when push actually comes to shove when it comes to actually accepting these migrants granting the rights that exist already in the documents that founded these nations. The silence. Rights truly do spring from something Divine or spring from our Collective will and maybe we need to individually do something about that and Grant these protections to each other so we can build a better world collectively.
Benevolence Of Jobs? Daniel Forkner: [55:29] Those are such great points David and really good questions that I think. We don't spend enough time thinking about or realizing the implications of this is something I hope we can expand more on and part two especially as we talked about the way we enforce the supply chains around the world, not just in the manufacturing of these Goods but the actual systems that are used to transport them around the world, it and you bring up a really good point about the hypocrisy of these inalienable rights and you really see this a lot in articles about the slavery around the world like it's so many of them including this Hawaii fishing boat story that is so revealing you find the occasional argument, well you know some workers enjoy this work and it's not so bad for them they make more money than they could earn back home so in reality we're we're providing them with a great opportunity for raising them out of poverty we see this argument of vote time and time again in defense of increased globalization and free trade, it's so what if American companies cause Bangladeshi women to work for pennies and cramped factories with no bathrooms to make our t-shirts that's still a better option than the otherwise would have we're doing them a service and providing jobs. And it really clear when you start looking at these arguments along the lines of what you're talking about David that knuckle first.
[56:54] Can not fundamentally have the things we want. Without the nine people from other places the same rights we demand for our own I mean that is the whole reason we Outsource factory work to other places because they don't have the same labor requirements that we do. And we see this even more agree just when we start looking at flags of convenience which which will get into next week and number three this argument is by nature a logic that depends on relatives it says look if a person's best option is one meal a day then we are Justified and nope we are benevolence for providing them one and a half meals a day to clean our dirty laundry. When were talking about inalienable rights we either have standards of what a human being should have access to or we don't having this type of Relativity and stratification of classes of peoples that is the exact.
Thinking In Aggregates [57:50] Really made me shift my thinking when it comes to the goods that we purchased an episode 22 we talked.
[58:08] A fair trade garment but if at the end of the day. Aggregate production of clothing is going up in tandem with the environmental and labor destruction and exploitation then it doesn't really matter what fair trade things were supporting because the destruction is still increasing I think we're making similar mistakes with these products that are made by slaves. Another way to think about the danger of global scale mass production is to remember Edward Bernays like we talked about in episode 11 and the way that marketers persuade us to consume products through misdirection do they want us to buy pianos so they convince architect to design houses with music rooms buying a single product is never an isolated event if we as a society simply cannot live without diamonds and we find a way to guarantee that every diamond is produced humanely and environmental sustainably might we Overlook the fact that the gold bands of diamonds are set in our produce with slave labor or the silver chains that they hang from.
[59:09] But more importantly as long as we had this Global industrial economy we could never achieve these guarantees in the first place because of the swiftness by which are Global Commodities machine can switch out one product for another if we truly got to a point where consumers around the world refused to buy a diamond or chocolate bar because of the labor that is involved what marketers would simply shift our consumption paradigms you would no longer be fashionable to propose marriage with a diamond it's all about rubies now, I know when he's chocolate anymore vanilla wafers go great with breakfast that means the point I'm trying to make your David is that we can't have it both ways we cannot have Universal products at our fingertips everywhere we go New York Paris London Singapore Hong Kong in Cape Town without slavery unless we are willing to accept a reality where it's not possible to buy a banana in Alaska. Or Diamond somewhere other than the place that they're produced then we cannot have a world where slaves don't form the backbone of our Global Supply Chain. And one of the great ironies here is that in many cases illegal activities like mining that use slave labor are fueled by the rise in legal operations, because any economic.
[1:00:31] Cement adding to the pool of exploitable Labor that can be converted to slave. And in addition large mining Corporation and local governments and small-scale slave owners often have interdependent love-hate relationships with each other. If you take Ghana for example of the government's Precious Minerals marketing company makes money on the gold and diamonds mined in the country and it offers guaranteed prices to any small-scale Miner. For their gold for their diamonds no questions asked and large multinational companies complain about small illegal miners who use their slaves to steal from large company mines. But there is an interdependence of your because large companies also allow illegal minors to roam their land and search up new veins to exploit and using their slave labor to do that and these large companies choose to drive them off only after new deposits are found.
[1:01:25] Everyone abuses the slaves the government does by incentivizing the acquisition and sale of resources by any means necessary and by directing police to beat and capture slaves caught you know quote-unquote illegally mining. And then imprisoning them and jails are often more dangerous than the mining conditions themselves. Large legal corporations abused by Slaves by sending their security patrols out to beat and murder any slaves on their property. And the slave owners themselves who of course avoid this conflict will there be abuse goes without saying. And these Dynamic play out in so many Industries we could probably find similar relationships in the businesses that produce the coffee and the chocolate that we consume every single day ultimately what we need in the short term as consumers is awareness and choice. Much has been said about how indifference and apathy contribute to evil and more eloquent ways than I could ever match. In one area of our lives at apathy can play a role is in our consumption and Wealthy societies it is too easy to consume. It is literally too easy we want something we buy it and often our purchases can be impulsive.
[1:02:38] Perhaps we need a return to more intentional and thoughtful method of consuming. We need to think about what is the labor that went into this product that I want to buy we need to recognize that just because something is available does not mean that we should consume it. I know that personally I could not go cold turkey on all the products I consume that are made by slaves but I can strive to be more responsible with my consumption. And do my best to shift away from those types of products consumed last reuse more in my life. So that I'm not feeling as much this consuming culture that is driving us abuse worldwide as long as we accept the premise that we should be able to consume any product anywhere in the world anytime we want we are going to have slaves because the demand for production of Commodities at that scale. Requires producers to race to the bottom in terms of cost and responsibility.
David Torcivia: [1:03:31] Normally right here we would be getting into that detailed what can we do to help with this problem but again because this is such a big topic and we don't want to just drop a three-hour show on everyone we're bringing it up into 2 part 1 part 2 and then we'll get into more depth next week with examples of things going on today.
Daniel Forkner: [1:03:49] And part 2 will have a couple more examples of some of these slave operations going on around the world but it'll be more of a discussion about the transformation our economy has gone through in the past decades that has, add a new dimension to the way we view labor and some things that put us at even greater risk going forward for exploitation that is disguised as a more legitimate structure and at the end of the two weeks I think we're still only going to be scratching the.
David Torcivia: [1:04:28] As always that's a lot to think about especially on these heavy topics, we know we were late last week and next week's going to get dark again but we hope you'll TuneIn nonetheless if you want to learn more about any of the topics we covered today read some of these individuals stories from people currently in servitude you can do all that as well as to read a full transcript of this show on our website at ashes ashes. Org.
Daniel Forkner: [1:04:55] A lot of time and research goes into making these shows possible and we will never use ads to support the show, so if you like it and would like us to keep going you our listener can support us by giving us a review and sharing this with a friend. Also we have an email address it's contact at ashes ashes. O RG we encourage you to send us your thoughts positive or negative will read them and we appreciate them.
David Torcivia: [1:05:20] You can also find us on your favorite social network app ashes ashes cast.
Daniel Forkner: [1:05:25] Until next week.
David Torcivia: [1:05:26] This is ashes ashes.Published