Preventing Slavery by Reducing Vulnerability

By, Bethany Marinelli

With 35.8 million people in slavery worldwide, it’s not surprising that as we work to end extreme poverty we’ve come across slavery as a major obstacle villagers needed to overcome to break the cycle. After much research and spending time with villagers, it became apparent that it wasn’t slavery that began their extreme poverty, but that their extreme poverty made them more vulnerable to slavery. Therefore the solution became clear - ending extreme poverty ends slavery.

What about extreme poverty makes a person more vulnerable to slavery?

Lack of Access

GHNI’s main method for ending poverty in rural villages, Transformational Community Development (TCD), incorporates educating and training villagers to achieve sustainability in five key areas - clean and safe water, viable nutritional food, health and wellness, education for every boy and girl, and resources for sustainable income. Lack of access to any of these areas can create vulnerability to slavery.

Before I am Taken from Global Hope Network Int'l on Vimeo.

In BT Village, Nepal, young girls were being abducted on their daily long walk to draw the day’s water for their family and sold into slavery. So, the villagers decided to put a well closer to the village. In Kenya, the need for income led to an elevated school drop-out rate and girls succumbing to prostitution. Now, a Women’s Empowerment Center provides them with training and resources for dignified income.


Lack of education in developing nations illicites an easy target for oppressors. Signing a contract when one can not read and write easily leads to corruption. Being unaware of the types of slavery and how to avoid them lends to the vulnerability of becoming enslaved without knowing until it’s too late. By bringing awareness to villagers in extreme poverty, and providing literacy classes and training for alternative means of sustainable income, they can protect themselves from suppression.

Living as a Refugee

None is more vulnerable than one who has no place to lay his head. This is the life of millions of refugees around the world today. With the crisis in the Middle East at an all-time high, it’s victims are subjected to the risk of being swept up into slavery daily. Whether they are in a crowded camp, on the road heading toward what they hope is safety, or living with others in a tiny apartment, displacement steals their security of shelter, food, and income. False promises of something better or sudden abduction is all around them.

What If?

What if villagers had food, water, income, education and wellness?

What if the illiterate received an education, a better source of income and were aware of the signs of slavery?

What if refugees had a safe place to sleep and a dignified way to feed their children?

What if we could end extreme poverty, removing the vulnerabilities of slavery altogether?

Will you join us in providing Slavery Prevention lessons to people in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East who are vulnerable to slavery?