Forced labor helps sustain the standard of living of economically advanced nations by taking advantage of the willingness of foreign workers to work for low wages, to live in inadequate conditions, and their desperation for work. Taking the recruitment practices in Malaysia as an example, it is evident that the needs of the recruits are not taken into consideration with as many as 92% of them unable to refuse the job after they become aware of the scope of their work 1. Held hostage by their recruiters refusing to give them their passports, coupled with the contracts that require exorbitant fees for recruitment, creates an environment where these workers are not happy with their working conditions, living conditions, and the type of work they do but cannot leave. This, in turn, is reflected by the higher stock prices around the world which makes for happy brokers, bankers, and stockholders. I have directly benefited from this by loving electronics. I own over 30 devices to play games or enjoy Media. Coltan, which is short for columbite–tantalites, is a mineral that is necessary for tantalum capacitors.
These capacitors are in almost every kind of electronic device and they, in many cases, are mined by children and teenagers in a state of quasi-slavery in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The extraction of these minerals by miners, making 1 dollar for every 14 hours worth of work, is exploited by the strongmen( owners/those in control of the mine ) 2. This very quickly resembles how the British population inside the colonies and in England benefitted from the use of slave labor.
Sugar, a crop that holds the same economic importance as oil does today, was one of the many commodities that the world came to enjoy at the expense of slaves in the Carribean. The processing of sugar cane was a physically exhaustive process. From the cutting of stalks and carrying them to the mill, boiling and extracting of cane juice, to curing and draining it, every process of refining sugar was labor intensive. The labor that was forced upon the slaves was hard and dangerous work.
Tobacco, being another important export of the Americas, was also a labor-intensive process that by the 17th century was mostly done by slaves. Many in the Old World, as well as those in the New World, enjoyed the supply of tobacco and refined sugar that was produced and moved by slaves. Indentured servitude was also very popular at the time and is similar to what Malaysian workers are facing with recruitment practices. The promise of new life and, in some cases, land in America was a very attractive deal for many. Being mostly poor and illiterate, it made sense for a lot of them to think food, work, lodgings, and the possibility of getting out of poverty, was a great deal. Just as those workers in Malaysia have been forced into labor longer than they want to be, so were the servants in the New World.
They would find their service terms lengthened by multiple years if they disobeyed their masters or committed a crime, and were not allowed to marry.