Images of Modern-Day Slavery by Lisa Kristine
Lisa Kristine, after realizing slavery exists in many places around the world today — 27 million people are estimated to be in slavery — spent time traveling, taking photographs of such examples to raise awareness about the still very real issues around modern-day slavery.
A woman in Nepal showed Kristine where she used to work — a forced prostitution house where women, encouraged later to offer food and alcohol, would wait for their clients in ‘cubbies’ separated by numbered plywood dividers.
Men who came to Accra, Ghana from the north hoping to find work resort to working off debts in illegal gold mines, many previously abandoned.
Children pan for gold in water poisoned by mercury from the extraction process.
Two children in the Himalayas carry large sheets of slate that often weigh more than themselves, even.
Child slaves on Lake Volta work on fishing boats, despite not knowing how to swim.
Lake Volta, in Ghana, is the largest man-made lake in the world. Up to 10,000 children are estimated to be working in slavery along its banks, fishing for the profit of the village people that enslave them.
It seems strange — unreal, really — that in 2012, we’re still dealing with slavery across the world. And in many cases, those enslaved are done so by their very own people. In some places, there seems to be no regard for human life or freedom.
For more images of Lisa Kristine’s visit The Atlantic or her website.
I had my own experiences on Lake Volta myself in the summer of 2011. Often, it’s the child’s job to dive into the water and free fishing nets that become trapped on tree stubs and twigs in the shallow by large lake. They are expected to do this despite not knowing how to swim. And from time to time, children just never come back up.
Below are some images I captured while traveling with the Challenging Heights organization, started by a man who was a slave himself on Lake Volta and now dedicates his life to children in similar situations.
Family members will abandon or even sell their children into slavery for as little as $15 for the extra money and to be able to save the money it costs to house their children (often, if a child lives with his uncle, the uncle might sell him into slavery help support his own children in the house). It’s Challenging Heights’ goal to help children find their families (and stay with them) again, or to give them shelter as they go to school and grow old enough to care for themselves.
A tree sticks out of Lake Volta — a sign of many more that stand just beneath the surface of the lake, snagging fishing nets to be freed by enslaved children.
One of the men who helps ‘run’ the slaves sits on his boat, taking a break as the children eat rice elsewhere.
A child sits with fishing nets and other gear, waiting for his ‘bosses’ to come back before they set out for the day.
A fishing boat of villagers and children passes as one stands and waves across the lake.
Two boys look at us, the younger boy behind the older boy, pleading to come with us as our boat heads back to find families of the children back in their home villages.
An extremely small and young boy, without clothes, helps pull in a fishing line.