Once upon a time, in a forgotten little green valley there was a small kingdom, ruled by an old and wise king. The people of the kingdom loved their king and praised him constantly, albeit the heavy taxes that burdened their life and debts that enslaved them and their children for all ages.
And then one day, a cry was called, challenging the king’s authority. Nobody expected that. Especially the king, let alone his unscrupulous tax collectors who feared that any threat to the kingdom is a direct threat to their livelihood. But the biggest shock came when it turns out the cry came from none other than the king’s very own beloved son. The people of the kingdom were baffled at the meaning of this as the king loved his son and son loved his king in return; but the cry was clear as the lake’s face at the early mornings – The son promised all those who wish to pledge their allegiance to him a relief from the debt owed to his father. Freedom, at the price of servitude.
The king’s council didn’t know what to make of this and what shall be done with the disobedient prince and his impious followers and as the king kept his silent, as he always did, they’ve made the best decision that they could: “The prince will be banished, yet his ruling will preside”. At first, his devout followers were punished severely but as time went and as their numbers grew, it became less and less horrific. It seemed that the king never vindicated or rebutted his son, although those that are debating about this still would claim otherwise. A few even suggested that the debts were meaningless if they can never be repaid, but none of this really matter as this happened long time ago in a place very far from here.
Debt slavery (or “debt bondage”), however is something that still exists in our world today. It is a person’s pledge of labour or services as security for the repayment for a debt or other obligation, where there is no hope of actually repaying the debt. The services required to repay the debt may be undefined, and the services’ duration may be undefined. Debt bondage can be passed on from generation to generation. Today, debt bondage is the most common method of enslavement with an estimated 8.1 million people bonded to labour illegally as cited by the International Labour Organisation in 2005 (source: wikipedia). Debt bondage has been described by the United Nations as a form of “modern day slavery” and the Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery seeks to abolish the practice. To lean more about modern day slavery, visit the anti-slavery website.