A Heartbreaking Look at Modern Day Slavery (PHOTOS)

Although slavery is commonly thought to be a thing of the past, modern day slavery exists. It didn’t cease with abolition in the 19th century.

According to activists, policymakers, scholars and journalists, the number of people estimated to be enslaved worldwide is around 10 to 30 million people.

The map below from the new Global Slavery Index shows where modern day slavery is the most prevalent:

world slavery

These people, real people like you and I, often entire families, are forced to work with no pay in factories, sweatshops, and agriculture to produce goods for global supply chains. Even women and children are forced to work in the dismal sex trade to pay off generational debts.

The body of images featured in the slideshow above were captured by San Francisco-based photographer Lisa Kristine. These photographs from around the world, including Nepal, the Congo and India, were made possible by her collaboration with the NGO Free the Slaves.

Kristine is working toward shining a light on slavery and illuminating their stories.

This body of images documents the pain of modern day slavery and the hope of freedom, allowing us to bear witness to the most horrible abuses imaginable and the most astonishing glimpses of the indomitable human spirit.

Each and every one of these people have a dream to one day be set free from their shackles, to become educated, treated with dignity and respect, but most of all to live.

Check out some of Kristine’s eye-opening work in the slideshow above or see her TED Talk discussing modern day slavery in the video below.

All images: Lisa Kristine