Almost 30 million people are enslaved in the world today, 55 percent of those people are women. I have decided to take the time this week to address an issue that is prevalent, but in countries where the issue is muffled by rapid population increases, it goes ignored and undiscussed.
Jordan is one of those countries—granted it is not like Mauritania, Haiti, or Pakistan the countries with the highest, per-capita slavery hot spots—but it is an issue that flies under the radar of many Jordanians.
As if women in Jordan did not have it hard enough, imagine being a woman and an indentured servant. This is the case with many households in Jordan. Household servants of 18 years-old are typically from countries such as Bangladesh or India, and travel to Jordan in hope of work that pays enough to send back to their families. Typically they end up in a two-to four year contract with a families that allows they to travel back to see their families and attend to matters, they are treated well, given food, a place to sleep, and clothes; however, for many women this is not the case.
Currently, there a handful students in my study abroad program in Jordan that are living in households where the indentured servants’ four year contracts has ended and yet they have been locked in the house without leaving for six years. They are owned by the family, their passports are locked up, and they have no hope of seeing or supplying to their families back home.
Many Jordanians see this as an issue and simply ignore that this occurs. Unfortunately, the Middlebury Language Program in Jordan continues to financially support these families where they are indentured servants by paying rent to accommodate students. Without a place to turn to discuss these issues with a third-party many students have returned to the states hopeless find a way out for this indentured servant that is not a worsening situation with their owners or jail.
I ask my readers for a call to action or advance or organizations that these students might turn to for help for these indentured servants.