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Slavery is a global problem that is currently on the rise. It is defined as “owning another person such as child marriages and human trafficking among others” says Reuters. Recent studies have shown that out of the world’s 7 billion people, 30 million people are living in slavery across the globe. These studies have also shown that most of these 30 million people are women and children who fall victims to sex trafficking networks. According to surveys held by the Walk Free Foundation, 10 countries out of 162 accounted for more than 70% of the world’s slavery. The 10 countries which make up more than 70% of the world’s slavery include Pakistan, Nigeria, Russia, the Democratic Republic of Congo as well as rising nations such as China and India.

However, the West African Nation of Mauritania is known to have one of the highest proportion of slaves in the world.  Reports estimate that there are “around 140,000 to 160,000 enslaved people in Mauritania” (Reuters.com). That is around 10% of the population in that nation alone. Despite this, reports have found that there is much higher amounts of enslaved people in other nations.   According to npr.org, India has been reported to have the most slaves. India is known to  have between 13.3 million and 13.7 million enslaved people. China is also not far behind. China’s enslaved population ranges from 2.8 to 3.1 million people. Pakistan recently moved up to third place on the list due to it’s large enslaved population which ranges from 2 to 2.2 million (npr.org). In these nations, slaves face poor working conditions, extreme gender differences, and extreme poverty (CNN.com).

Despite these worrisome reports, other nations have also reported a decrease in slavery. Britain and Ireland have been ranked as the “nations with the fewest slaves” (npr.org). UN officials have opted to use the cases of Ireland and Britain as models to provide a solution for slavery. Unfortunately, the United States is not ranked in the list of nations with the least amount of slavery. According to UN reports, the United States has been ranked as the 134th nation with the least amount of slavery. Hopefully,  these new studies will help eradicate slavery on a global scale.

– Stephanie Olaya

Sources: NPR, CNN, Reuters

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Young girls in underdeveloped countries all over the world occupy a crucial position in the overall equation of global poverty. Because the majority of these girls lack a significant amount of education, and are strictly bound by cultural principles like child marriage, they have little ability to make any decisions for themselves, and often find themselves facing sexual violence and pregnancy at a young age.

There is an estimated 250 million girls living in poverty today. In places in South and West Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa, 1 out of every 8 girls is subjected to a child marriage, and 1 out of every 7 girls give birth before the age of 17. Infant and maternal mortality is very common in cases of child marriage because of the significant lack of resources and education in these underdeveloped countries.

Education is intrinsically linked to these young girls who otherwise could encounter a child marriage. Without education young girls are subject to others who make decisions for them.

Providing adolescent girls with proper education would supply them with the skill set necessary to choose healthy paths for their lives. If primary education were required for all girls living in South and West Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa there would be 14% fewer child marriages. If all of these girls also received secondary education there would be 64% fewer girls bound in marriages at a young age.

It is economically wise to invest in the education of young girls as primary education has been proven to increase a girls’ future wages. The problem is many of the regions in which poor adolescent girls live devalue their lives. Patriarchal values have a very dominant presence, making it easy for young girls to follow in the steps of cultural tradition despite how much it inhibits their own futures.

Educating young girls would teach them to resist the pressures of a society that urges them into early marriages. Education would also prepare girls to confront situations and injustices where they are being taken advantage of. Girls would be better equipped to stand alongside other women and fight for their right to education, just as Malala Yousafzai did, her example now an act of heroism and inspiration for girls everywhere.

Supplying young girls in impoverished countries with a quality education would have a significant impact on the current state of poverty, introduce a major decrease in infant mortality, and promote a healthier and more empowering environment for young girls to thrive.

– Chante Owens

Sources: The Guardian, Reuters
Photo: Educate a Child