No love, not really

A new global report on slavery has estimated there are more than 40 million people trapped in slavery worldwide. Many of us will have rarely thought about the immense scale of modern-day slavery, assuming that slavery only exists in faraway lands. But that assumption is wrong.

Have you ever had your nails done at a salon? Do you have your car hand-washed? Have you ever had building work done, or had a new driveway laid? If so, the chances are you may have come across someone who is enslaved. The harsh reality is that modern slavery not only exists in the UK, but it is on the rise. It is all around us – in nail bars, car washes, hotels, restaurants, farms and building sites. I myself was ignorant about modern-day slavery until I came across an online article a few years ago, and I have been researching it ever since.

The actual report being referred to lists some 1,700 Vietnamese over 7 years. It’s very hazy indeed about the difference between slavery (vile) and illegal immigration with labour paying back the fee (perhaps not desirable but also not vile).

This may all be entirely appalling even so of course but it’s not exactly immense scale, is it?

24 comments on “No love, not really

  1. Have you ever had building work done, or had a new driveway laid? If so, the chances are you may have come across someone who is enslaved.

    Hmm, why ask those questions? Is it some subtle reference to the Fact That Must Not Be Named, i.e. that Travellers have been partial to this sort of thing, so blatantly that even the government has had to step in and prosecute a few of them lately?

  2. By the way, I have never seen a Vietnamese nail bar in Britain, despite living near London and having walked around a significant part of it. Where are all these slavery outposts hiding?

  3. Well, as my builder lives just down the road and his Mum directly across from me, any “slavery” is unlikely in that context.

    The car wash, not that I use it very often is Polish run, so again, unlikely (free movement etc).

    I’ve never had my nails done but Mrs S-E’s choice of the many in the local area has a couple of local matrons with loads of gossip.

    Now, one of the local Chinese restaurants (not the one I use but that’s unimportant) had a bit of a fuss with the Borders Agency a couple of years ago about employing people on student visas (and was closed down for about a week, magically springing up again under, coughs, ‘new ownership’.) Now that might meet one of the modern, extraordinarily expansive definitions of “slavery” but, if anything, is somewhere between Tim’s second definition and students needing to earn some money (but breaking their visa conditions) – which is definitely not vile and probably not that undesirable (as opposed to over-stayers, which I consider is undesirable but appreciate that opinions differ.)

  4. Not the Vietnamese bollocks again.

    Get some new material for God’s sake.

    What about underage Andaman islanders being forced to work as Chuckie dolls or something.

    If you are going to tell lies at least try to be original once in a while.

  5. Slavery is omnipresent in Britain, especially among the poor bastards on PAYE. I’m not sure what percentage of value the government finally wrings out of the workforce, once every sort of tax is taken into account, but I’d be surprised if it were less than 50%. 65-70% is my guess.

    Even medieval serfs were expected to contribute no more than a third of their labour to the typical manor, and their accommodation was provided gratis.

    It is from the labour of modern serfs that the Guardianistas incessantly demand an ever-greater share. This perhaps is the summit, the very peak, of the lofty mountain of muddled thinking and hypocrisy embodied by the left.

  6. Whether it’s militant men-called-Wendy beating up third wave feminists for pointing out they have cocks, or ‘Antifa’ mummies’ boys with giant holes in their earlobes calling black Conservatives white supremacists, or Trigglypuff full-retard-spazzing-out at the mention of a word it doesn’t like, or just box standard Graun hacks claiming that your builder is a slave trader*, I love all this. More please – it only turns normal people against them, and let’s not forget that normal people are in the vast majority.

    *Accepting Rob’s point above

  7. “I myself was ignorant about modern-day slavery until I came across an online article a few years ago, and I have been researching it ever since.”

    or, as it should have been edited

    I myself was ignorant a few years ago, and I have been ever since.

  8. How do you actually ‘research’ modern-day slavery?

    Builder comes to knock up an extension.

    ‘Fancy a cuppa?’
    ‘Sure.’
    ‘So, your blokes… do you pay them?’
    ‘Eh?’

  9. I’ve never had my nails done in a salon. The last building work I had done was a repair to my garden wall by a small local builder/landscaper. His only employee (apart from his late-teens son in the school holidays) was better-dressed and looked better-fed than the master-builder. No, I don’t think I saw anyone enslaved.

  10. Monday’s Times had a letter to the editor from “James Keeley, Barrister, London WC1R”. It began:
    Modern-day slavery is omnipresent in our country

    I felt compelled to point out that I’d checked every room of my house and could find no trace of slavery, so it clearly isn’t “omnipresent”.

  11. I myself was ignorant about modern-day slavery until I came across an online article a few years ago

    I suspect that the ignorance was because this issue tends to be more prevalent among the, ah, more vibrant than normal section of UK society, so it simply wasn’t mentioned in ‘polite’ (establishment) circles.

    Even now it is treated as a general societal problem, save for the odd, probably inadvertent references to “tarmacing driveways”.

    Slyly blaming Joe Bloggs might square that circle of talking about “modern slavery” without talking about the perpetrators but it won’t solve the problem.

  12. If this is really some form of paying for your passage, or indenturing or whatever, then introduce a charge for the necessary visa. If the going rate is 10 grand, set it at that, or a discount. Or charge for residency on an annual basis, whatever.

    So, now the money goes to the government.

    Is it still modern day slavery?

  13. I’ve had my car washed by teams of swarthy blokes who probably fell off the back of a lorry just outside Dover. But were they slaves? The absence of shackles and chains would suggest not.

    The only meaningful definition of a slave is someone whose movement is controlled. Anyone who is free to leave their employer (even if it means falling into the hands of the police and/or immigration authorities) can’t be called a slave.

  14. “The only meaningful definition of a slave is someone whose movement is controlled. Anyone who is free to leave their employer (even if it means falling into the hands of the police and/or immigration authorities) can’t be called a slave.”

    Depends on your definition of controlled. The victims of the pikeys were ‘free’ to leave, but had been brow beaten (and maybe actually beaten) so much that they did not feel able to leave. They weren’t locked up and shackled, but they might as well have been. They are often the mentally subnormal, so lacking in ability to understand their position too clearly as well.

  15. Jim, there are a number of abuse victims who are not free to leave. Do we count the battered wife, the abused child, the browbeaten husband (to use 3 stereotypes) as slaves?

    The 12 year old girl after her 2nd home abortion by her father, of her father’s child, with 3 years of sexual abuse and beatings – is she a slave?

    That someone can or cannot do something in general terms does not mean any one individual is able to. When they cannot see a choice no matter what then they cannot make a choice.

  16. Remember, they count using your own children to help out on shop as slavery. I must’ve been a slave all those years my parents operated a restaurant whenever I help out during the busy times, and wasn’t paid a penny.

  17. Just as a matter of interest, has anyone ever been arrested and charged with running a Vietnamese nail bar/brothel staffed with slaves in Britain?

  18. “Do we count the battered wife, the abused child, the browbeaten husband (to use 3 stereotypes) as slaves?”

    They aren’t working for someone though are they? I think any definition of slavery would have to include labour not recompensed at market rates. They are also victims of other crimes, so whether or not their plight is considered slavery is a moot point. A man abusing his children or beating his wife is committing other crimes, there’s no need to consider whether we need to charge him with slavery too.

    Whereas prosecuting someone who has forced a vulnerable person to labour for them for many years for minimal reward via verbal threats and/or physical abuse is going to be hard unless we have a specific definition of a crime that covers such an eventuality.

  19. “By the way, I have never seen a Vietnamese nail bar in Britain, despite living near London and having walked around a significant part of it. Where are all these slavery outposts hiding?”

    There’s one in that den of iniquity in deepest Dorset known as Weymouth. Every time I walk past they all seem to be smiling and chatting away between themselves and with customers.

  20. The Economist has a good graphic breaking it down by type and sector, I presume its from the report but haven’t bothered to check.

    Of the sectors 24% is domestic work and 18% manufacturing. I presume that the domestic work is Indonesian and Philippinos working in places like HK and the ME. Simialrly the construction workers are likely to be Bangladeshi’s and Pakistani’s working in the ME|.

    Of the types 23.6% is withheld wages and 33% threats or physical violence.

    I suggest that the best way to fix most of these problems is more Washington Consensus in their home countries to generate wealth so that the don’t have to travel to take up these post to earn remittances.

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