Did you know that women and girls are disproportionately affected by modern slavery? They account for 71 per cent of the 40.3 million people living in modern slavery? In fact, one in every 130 females globally is living in modern slavery.
To understand this further, Walk Free, the international human rights group has put together a hugely significant report, examining why women and girls are more vulnerable to modern slavery throughout their lifecycle.
The 89-page report, Stacked Odds, explores many of the factors that contribute towards this gender imbalance. It suggests that the power imbalances, gender inequality and discrimination that make women so susceptible to criminal gangs and becoming victims of modern slavery are embedded in the fabric of our lives.
It can begin even before birth as many cultures place less value on girls. This results in sex selection and female infanticide and contributes to the 130 million missing women and girls in the world.
In most countries, fewer girls attend school and they often have less access to medical care than boys. On top of this, in many countries, laws can exacerbate, rather than protect women from modern slavery. Some laws prevent women from inheriting land and assets, conferring citizenship on their children, traveling freely, and working without their husbands’ permission.
As well as many shocking statistics and penetrating analysis and commentary, the report includes several compelling essays by survivors of modern slavery. It also contains detailed recommendations about how we can begin to even the odds for women and girls and reduce vulnerability to modern slavery.
At The Clewer Initiative, we are focusing on the plight of women and girls in our upcoming Lent Course. The five week course, Women in the Shadows, which will be available to churches and communities in January 2021, will explore the stories of women trapped in modern slavery in the UK. It will also look at our response – how we can spot the signs and build a more caring society, walking alongside victims and helping them rebuild their lives.