Poverty, pressure & push/pull factors - FreedomUnited.org

Poverty, pressure & push/pull factors

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Many factors, sometimes referred to as “push” and “pull” factors, can combine to make someone vulnerable to human trafficking and exploitation. Poverty is often a common denominator among people at risk of different forms of modern slavery around the world. Along with other societal pressures, generational poverty can lead parents to pressure their children into situations of forced and subservient marriage.

It’s hard for some of us to imagine insisting a fourteen-year-old daughter marry a much older man. Similarly, we might judge a parent harshly when they make what seems like an obviously risky agreement with a recruiter for their child to take a suspicious “job opportunity.”

This kind of poverty leaves parents in a desperate situation. Often, it’s their very concern for their child’s survival which leads them to accept a promise of safety and security which results in modern slavery.

The video above takes a look at how factors beyond their control – river flooding and cultural pressure – pushed two young women towards abusive, early marriage in Bangladesh, where 30% of girls are married by age 15. It’s easy to see how these factors can lead people to accept situations of abuse and exploitation as their only option.

But, what can we do to help girls at risk of just such situations or about other situations it might feel like we can’t do anything about? One thing we can do is advocate, using our voice, in support of others, to call on people in positions of power or authority to change laws or practices.

Forced and subservient child marriage isn’t a problem exclusive to Bangladesh. Like all forms of modern slavery, it exists in many places.

Today’s action is to add your voice to call on lawmakers and politicians to protect children against forced child marriage.

Discuss below how people working in communities with high rates of child marriage, often members of the community themselves, can address the issue productively.

Don’t forget to let us know you will take action by clicking or tapping the ACCEPT CHALLENGE button on this page. If you missed any of our previous Freedom Fortnight challenges you can still take action here.

Chip in and help end modern slavery once and for all.


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6 years ago

(Continued) In terms of specific actions, I watch the news emails I get and write to my MPs when I see an opportunity (I also write to tell the MPs when I think they’ve done something well). Some guidance texts like Amnesty used to do would be useful.

6 years ago

Back in the 1980s I joined Amnesty International: it was frustrating when we didn’t get the direct results we were writing for (i.e., release of a selected prisoner), but we did have some successes, and I recall reading an analysis of how that collective action had led to some general changes.
I think this is similar: it’s frustrating because we probably won’t see immediate results, but I’ve got general confidence that collective action can succeed.
(More to come)

6 years ago

So many disadvantages people must face in order to overcome this problem. Education, poverty, climate change–things that must seem hopeless and make these actions seem necessary. How can someone across the world help such a community? What can we do?

Rachael Sharples
Rachael Sharples
6 years ago

I often feel powerless when I see this information. As an individual I try to cut waste, be green, be political, get the message out there but….

6 years ago

I would have liked more specific ideas for this one. Raise my voice where? How can I be most effective in taking a stand against forced child marriage?


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I believe no child should be forced or coerced into abusive and subservient marriage. Every child’s freedom is a birthright, not a privilege.

I pledge to use my voice to take action, so that together, in support of Sustainable Development Goal 5.3, we will end this abhorrent practice.

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