Do We Really Need a Global Commission on Modern Slavery?

Yves here. I am not sure what to make of the article below on slavery and what to do about it, but hope it will nevertheless provoke a useful discussion.

I first must confess to not liking the rhetorical posture the authors take, which is scolding and finger wagging, plus a lot of ad hominem about Theresa May. Yes, she was a Tory and a not very good Prime Minister, but the authors treat her as cynically intentioned. At least in Brexit, even though May drove EU leaders nuts with her obtuseness (some contend she is on the spectrum) they nevertheless generally said they liked her, and they saw her as sincere but over her head. So May could well have seized on slavery as an important issue that needed more attention, and either not done adequate homework and/or had all sorts of usual suspects telling her what to think.

As an aside, what this piece does not acknowledge is that naive do-gooderism is endemic and often does more harm than help. We linked to the Wired article, The Deaths of Effective Altruism. Its subhead:

I’m fond of effective altruists. When you meet one, ask them how many people they’ve killed.

And then a bit into the article:

I grew up like today’s typical EA….

In 1998, I wasn’t ready for extreme sacrifice; but at least, I thought, I could find the charities that save the most lives. I started to build a website (now beyond parody) that would showcase the evidence on the best ways to give—that would show altruists, you might say, how to be most effective. And then I went to Indonesia.

A friend who worked for the World Wildlife Fund had invited me to a party to mark the millennium, so I saved up my starting-professor’s salary and flew off to Bali. My friend’s bungalow, it turned out, was a crash pad for young people working on aid projects across Indonesia and Malaysia, escaping to Bali to get some New Year’s R&R.

These young aid workers were with Oxfam, Save the Children, some UN organizations. And they were all exhausted. One nut-tan young Dutch fellow told me he slept above the pigs on a remote island and had gotten malaria so many times he’d stop testing. Two weary Brits told of confronting the local toughs they always caught stealing their gear. They all scrubbed up, drank many beers, rested a few days. When we decided to cook a big dinner together, I grabbed my chance for some research.

“Say you had a million dollars,” I asked when they’d started eating. “Which charity would you give it to?” They looked at me.

“No, really,” I said, “which charity saves the most lives?”

“None of them,” said a young Australian woman to laughter….By the time we got to dessert, these good people, devoting their young lives to poverty relief, were talking about lying in bed forlorn some nights, hoping their projects were doing more good than harm.

That was a shock. And, I’m embarrassed to say, a deeper shock came when I left Bali’s beaches to drive to the poorer parts of the island….

You might think it pitiful, even offensive, that it took some luxury tourism to give me a sense of the reality of severe poverty. Let me ask your mercy. I thought my little website could help save lives—and saving lives is what firemen do. Saving lives is what Spider-Man does. I thought I could save lives by being clever: the philosopher’s way of being the hero. I left the island so ashamed.

This is a long-winded way of saying I am put off by the authors’ confidence. Yes, they probably are correct in their critique of the May initiative. But they go on to put some stakes in the ground, and I have doubts about the first one:

The UK, the EU, the US and the Australian governments all present themselves as champions in the fight against modern slavery and human trafficking, yet they are also world leaders in making life as difficult as possible for migrants.

These are not compatible. You can be anti-exploitation or anti-migration, but you cannot be both at the same time. Denying foreign nationals access to rights, safety and support while they’re inside a territory – or in transit to it – makes them more vulnerable, and thus more likely to be exploited

At least for the US, the overwhelming majority of migrants are economic migrants. The level of immigration has hit the point where it is generating a lot of backlash due to issues like competition for low-end jobs and pressure on housing stock. So unfortunately, in many countries that have already taken in a lot of refugees, policy-makers will feel forced to continue to play the “virtuous migrant” game, of giving preference only those in certain categories…such as those rescued out of sex trafficking rings and other seemingly no-brainer cases.

But this clip from a popular crime show, Special Victims Unit, illustrates tidily, which is easier to do in fiction than real life, that even seemingly clear-cut cases of victimhood don’t often look so on the receiving country end. The migrant story becomes a key point of contention in the court case:

Hence the activists’ urging policymakers to protect every immigrant. But that is a political non-starter in too many countries.

Moreover, the coyotes who bring some of these migrants in are human traffickers. So…how can you be more migrant-friendly and not wind up handing traffickers more business?

In addition, my impression is that in the poorer parts of Asia, families selling girls into slavery is sadly common. Yet even though the numbers are likely large, this isn’t the sort of institutionalized or organized-looking slavery that NGOs and advocates are positioned to address.

The fact that I know hardly anyone in Thailand and yet am an acquaintance of an escaped slave, originally from Myanmar, speaks volumes about the scale of this bondage. She made a presentation at her partner’s urging (you can find a transcript at this link) recounting how she was sold by her aunt, the abuses she suffered, and how she escaped and eventually got to Thailand. Bear in mind she speaks five languages, with English being her weakest, and understands six. The art is all her work even though she started painting only in February 2022. She has been exhibited in Bangkok.

Forgive the long and rambling into. It reflects how little it is discussed on the soi-disant left. I’d hoist better material if I had been able to find it readily.

By Ayushman Bhagat, a Post-Doctoral Fellow and Parasol Fellow – TraffLab (ERC) in the Buchmann Faculty of Law at Tel-Aviv University and Joel Quirk, Professor in Political Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, who is currently a member of the International Scientific Committee of the UNESCO Slave Route Project, where he serves as Rapporteur. Originally published at openDemocracy

Jimmy Carter is often regarded as the US’s “greatest former president” because of his humanitarian efforts after leaving office. Many former politicians aspire to building a legacy as a respected elder as he did, but it’s not easy to pull off. Tony Blair has screwed up time and time again in the Middle East. Boris Johnson recently endorsed Donald Trump. Enough said there.

Former UK Prime Minister Theresa May, who announced last month that she is stepping down as MP, has similar aspirations. We suspect it’s the main reason why she launched the Global Commission on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking in October 2023. It’s her attempt at a legacy project. Something that re-connects her name with a cause she has long sought to champion.

Don’t think May and Brexit.

Or May and Windrush.

Think May and modern slavery.

We have sympathy for her wanting to be remembered this way. The problem is, her actual record on modern slavery is nothing to get excited about. UK policies targeting modern slavery have proven to be ineffective and expensive. The support given to victims is insultingly low. And severe exploitation in this country has hardly disappeared.

May was the architect of modern slavery policies that did not work.

And thus we are not excited about this new commission. With May in charge there is every reason to expect that it will have little – if anything – new to offer. It will be a tribute band to herself, playing all her old classics one more time.

The world has no need for this, and we’ve seen no evidence that anyone outside the UK is calling for it. So we would be happier if there was no commission at all. But if we are going to be stuck with it, we have a couple of suggestions.

Can we please have something new?

The Global Commission on Modern Slavery: Flawed from the Start

The commission’s website says that it exists to “exert high-level political leverage to restore political momentum towards achieving UN SDG 8.7 to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking”.

It’s funded by the governments of the UK and Bahrain – countries both known for having abusive policies towards migrants and migrant labour – and chaired by May, known for her hostility to vulnerable migrants. Its 16 commissioners include academics, numerous CEOs and investors, and a couple of high-profile social entrepreneurs and survivors.

There is no representation from organised labour, or workers and their allies. So when imagining the commission, think #businessforgood and #ethicalinvesting, rather than #solidarity, #decentwork and #rightsnotrescue.

Combatting modern slavery was a flagship issue for May as both home secretary and prime minister. Her main achievement was the 2015 Modern Slavery Act, which she subsequently promoted at the United Nations and via the Commonwealth. In 2016 May described the act as “an international benchmark” to which other governments should aspire.

Yet May’s template was not taken up in the way she had hoped. Its impact was strongest in Australia, where mining magnate turned philanthrocapitalist Andrew Forrest pushed for a local version of the UK legislation. Canada and New Zealand, both British settler colonies, also partly took up the baton as well.

The rest of the world never embraced May’s vision. Most governments still prefer to talk about human trafficking, forced labour, and labour exploitation. And many see recent European attempts to couple human rights due diligencewith civil penalties as a promising alternative to the toothless, business-friendly transparency provisions of May’s Modern Slavery Act.

This Is Not a Global Blueprint for Action

The problem with the UK’s “world leading” response to modern slavery is that it’s not very good. It wasn’t good in 2015, when the legislation was first enacted, and it isn’t good now.

There are four fundamental problems:

  1. The “hostile environment”, which May introduced as home secretary, ensures that migrants remain vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.
  2. Corporations remain unaccountable for labour abuses.
  3. Effective regulation and protections for vulnerable workers are absent.
  4. Funding cuts to social services and other safety nets are increasing the caseload of the National Referral Mechanism (NRM), the official system for recognising modern slavery victims, which is crumbling under the pressure of cases and circumstances it isn’t equipped to handle.

It is sometimes argued that the problems associated with UK modern slavery policy can be traced back to insufficient resources. We do not believe this to be the case. Our research suggests that over £1bn has been spent on modern slavery interventions and research in the UK since 2014, making May’s model both ineffective and expensive.

This is not a model that countries interested in social justice should emulate. It should not be championed, and even if that weren’t the case there’s no reason to expect May would do a better job of selling it on a global stage the second time around.

As the head of her own commission, she’ll be the wrong saleswoman flogging the wrong product to the wrong people at the wrong time.

Having a commission might – just might – have made sense if there was no one else working on addressing labour exploitation internationally. This is not the case. This is a field which is crowded to the point of total saturation. There are numerous UN special rapporteurs, major global initiatives run by the ILO, UNODC, and the US State Department, and countless regional collaborations. There are at least a hundred projects already doing the same kinds of work.

There was no great swell of grassroots groups calling for the creation of a commission either. It can instead be traced to recommendations from a scoping study funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and undertaken by the Modern Slavery Evidence Centre, which May created and funded when she was still prime minister. This is a top-down creation designed to keep a former prime minister happy, and perhaps to prop up the crumbling myth that the Tory party cares about severe exploitation.

Yet it’s here. We’re stuck with it. So the only question that really matters is, can anybody convince it to say something – anything really – which is new?

Here are some suggestions.

Can We Have an Honest Conversation About Migration?

The UK, the EU, the US and the Australian governments all present themselves as champions in the fight against modern slavery and human trafficking, yet they are also world leaders in making life as difficult as possible for migrants.

These are not compatible. You can be anti-exploitation or anti-migration, but you cannot be both at the same time. Denying foreign nationals access to rights, safety and support while they’re inside a territory – or in transit to it – makes them more vulnerable, and thus more likely to be exploited.

The European Union is spending billions on systems to prevent people from coming to Europe, including funding militia-run, private prisons in Libya. Former president Donald Trump justified ‘building a wall’ as an anti-trafficking measure. The UK spends millions to apprehend potential migrants in their home countries through various anti-migration projects disguised as development assistance. They try to prevent workers from crossing the English Channel and tether the visas of many migrant workers to their employers, making it very difficult for them to escape if they find themselves being exploited and abused.

First responders” to potential cases of ‘modern slavery’ and NRM contract holders routinely double as de facto immigration agents, gathering the personal data of vulnerable individuals and sharing it with law enforcement agencies. Modern slavery interventions and immigration enforcement run together, with punishment trumping protection. Earlier this year it was revealed that the Home Office was deliberately rejecting people whom it should have helped.

The effects of these grotesque anti-immigration measures have to be part of any conversation about ways of addressing modern slavery. There will be no “eradication” of exploitation without immigration reform.

Any proposal or report from the commission which does not seriously grapple with the layered effects of hostile immigration regimes is not worth reading.

Can We Have an Honest Conversation About Corporate Power?

Labour exploitation is baked into every stage of global supply chains, and major corporations have carefully designed these chains to maximise their profits, minimise their liabilities, and obstruct workers’ rights.

The Modern Slavery Act sought to encourage voluntary change in these practices through transparency reporting. This has not worked. The modern slavery statements which the act requires from large companies are worse than useless, and multiple reports have shown that the voluntary audits many companies commission rarely rock the boat.

Corporations are not going to be ‘good citizens’ and change their core business practices voluntarily. They have to be publicly regulated and publicly inspected, with meaningful penalties for violations.

Workers need to be able to organise and bargain collectively. The key hinge here is not enslavement but wage theft, since once employers start stealing the wages of their workers it opens the door for all other kinds of abuses. It’s discouraging that none of the commissioners comes from a workers’ rights background, but perhaps they will be able to surprise us.

Any proposal or report from the global commission which does not directly address worker rights, labour organising, and corporate power is not worth reading.

Can We Have an Honest Conversation About Commercial Sex Work?

Attitudes towards modern slavery and commercial sex can be roughly divided into three main camps: pro-sex workers’ rights, prostitution abolitionists, and ‘on the fence’.

The arguments favoured by the first two camps will already be familiar to many people. One regards commercial sex as a form of work much like any other, while the other views commercial sex as inherently exploitative. Both camps maintain that their preferred position offers the best platform for combatting modern slavery.

The third, and increasingly dominant group – the fence sitters – try their hardest to not take a position either way. We encourage the new commission to take a stand on this issue, no matter how appealing it appears to simply avoid the topic.

You cannot take effective action against modern slavery if you try and stick your head in the sand when it comes to basic questions about rights and regulation regarding commercial sex. We personally favour de-criminalisation (our argument is made at length here), but there is no way of moving forward on this issue if there isn’t a conversation on the merits.

Any proposal or report produced by the global commission which does not develop an explicit position regarding the status of commercial sex is not worth reading.

Can We Please Have a Few New Songs?

We are not convinced that the world needs a Global Commission on Modern Slavery. We have reservations about its origins, mandate and composition. And we strongly suspect that it will be little more than May attempting to revive her previous efforts to globalise her failed UK model. But since we now have a commission, it would be really nice if the band could play a few new songs. Enough with the back catalogue.

Some readers may also be wondering where criminal justice fits within this equation. There is no doubt that governments primarily view the fight against modern slavery through a criminal justice lens. Law enforcement, not social solutions, has long been the go-to response.

Our position here is that we have had far too much criminal justice already. There are many times where criminal justice interventions have ended up doing more harm than good. The world doesn’t need yet more law-and-order cheerleading under the guise of human rights.

So we would suggest giving criminal justice a pass for now and prioritising other things. You cannot effectively reduce vulnerability to exploitation by prioritising police and immigration.

And any report from the global commission that says otherwise is not worth reading.

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  1. JonnyJames

    This looks like cynical PR and gross hypocrisy: the NATO/EU vassals supported the destruction of Libya, Syria, Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen etc. creating the largest migrant/refugee crisis since WWII. The slave trade has been well documented in Libya, for example.

    Very simply: if the US and vassals stopped destroying entire countries, human trafficking, slavery etc.. would be vastly diminished.

    The same goes for the US in the Americas: illegal economic blockades on Venezuela, Cuba… regime changes in Honduras, Haiti, etc. Debt trap diplomacy, “free trade” have resulted in the displacement and deaths of 100s of thousands of people. Then the US scapegoats them and uses them as political cannon fodder. Blame the powerless and worship the oligarchy, those are “European Values”

  2. Cristobal

    Not a bad article. It acknowledges that there are many kinds of slavery: retail, industrial, commercial, sexual, and the old fashioned financial dependency. Speaking of legacy, a good film illustrating Hillary Clinton’s Libyan legacy is “Yo Capitán” (spanish title). To deal with slavery of immigants, I would suggest regularizing them so that they would have legal rights, thus avoiding the worst exploitarion. This might also aleviate the iré of native workers faced with cheaper competition. It will be a long process, but the problem won’t go away and we have to start somewhere.

    1. Jesper

      Hidden away in a paragraph on page 12 of the linked to report is this sentence:

      Many anti-trafficking measures therefore prescribe penalties for intermediaries who recruit or move people from one place to another rather than penalising pimps or employers who exploit these same people once they have been trafficked, keeping them in some form of servitude
      or forced labour.

      I chose to bold one part of that sentence.
      There are those who believe that if employers who are exploiting would be penalised (currently I’d say they are not punished) then the situation would improve both for the migrants and for those who are unhappy with current levels of migration. But surprisingly (?) doing that is not among the ten steps recommended by the report…. Maybe it is step number eleven….
      Or maybe the logic is that PMC as a class would feel directly targeted if laws were enacted and enforced to protect migrants and that simply cannot be allowed to happen. What kind of world would we have if someone was being punished for paying the cleaner of their home starvation-wages?
      I am almost surprised that increased costs for the PMC was not listed as a collateral damage to what would happen if trafficking and exploitation were to stop.

  3. Skip Intro

    As long as persons of enslavement are not subject to discrimination based on race or gender expression, then those of us privileged enough to lack personal experience of slavery should not be so fast to condemn their lifestyle.

  4. Feral Finster

    Liberals love them blue ribbon commissions and jobs programs for fellow PMC members in good standing.

  5. Ben Panga

    Thanks for including Rose’s story; it was a brutal read. The first-person narrative makes it so much more real. I’ve met plenty of Burmese in Thailand with horror stories, but nothing quite like that.

    I wrote a longer reply with more on slavery in SE Asia which got lost after I clicked post comment, so I’ll just say the following:

    As a reformed development NGOer I strongly agree with your take that “naive do-gooderism is endemic and often does more harm than help”. It can be seen most famously in food (and other) aid inadvertently distorting/destroying local markets. There are lots of more subtle ways it harms too – brain-drain of bright staff from local institutions into NGOs; a plethora of useless at best projects that just satisfy donor checklists; generally imposing ill thought-out projects that do not suit the local situation; creating dependency etc.

    A good case to study would be Aceh (Sumatra) in the years following the 2004 Earthquake/Tsunami. A lot of money flowed through, but how much good was done is debatable. UNCTAD in Cambodia in the 1990s was legendary for it’s corruption, uselessness and condescending attitude to local people. It was often referred to as UNCTUOUS.

    I’m extremely skeptical of Western NGOs that claim to be advocates. They always seem to advocate changes that reflect their Western biases, or personal ideas about how the world should look. They start from their model and try to change reality to meet the model. This is insane to me.

    “Any proposal or report produced by the global commission which does not develop an explicit position regarding the status of commercial sex is not worth reading” serves only to the author’s self-righteousness.

    So too “Any proposal or report from the global commission which does not directly address worker rights, labour organising, and corporate power is not worth reading.”

    Worthy ideas, but if making them prerequisites precludes buy-in from relevant communities and actors, they do more harm than good. It is possible to be pragmatic without losing one’s values. The article reads like a student union screed.

    On May: she always vibed old school Church of England vicar’s wife or provincial headmistress to me. I think she’s genuinely trying to do some good here, although I doubt her competence.

      1. Ben Panga

        Thanks Yves

        I’ll throw in an anecdote told to a friend who ran a regional Harm Reduction NGO. I think it well illustrates the mismatch between NGO plans and recipient needs/wants.

        My friend had a meeting with the Laos Health Minister (this would have been around 2008/9), who used the following story to explain how Laos was different to Western societies:

        A team from a well known known NGO went to rural Laos to “help increase productivity and income”. In a particular village they found farmers using old techniques and kinda lazing around. The NGOers gave a long presentation about more efficient farming methods and explained that the farmers could increase their crop output fourfold. They were received very enthusiastically and the villagers were keen to learn all the details.

        The NGO team left, congratulating themselves on bringing the farmers into a superior profit-maximising mode of production. They wrote reports detailing the $millions their project would bring to GDP if rolled out nationally.

        A year later the NGO team returned to the village, and found the villagers again relaxing. They did not look visibly wealthier. On being given a tour of the farm, they found the villagers were using the new techniques, but now only cultivating a quarter of the land. Rather than maximise profit, they had chosen to minimise work.

        The NGOers were predictably gobsmacked and returned to Vientiane to tell the Health Minister how stupid the villagers were. Apparently the Minister just laughed hysterically.

    1. yep

      I’m extremely skeptical of Western NGOs that claim to be advocates. They always seem to advocate changes that reflect their Western biases, or personal ideas about how the world should look. They start from their model and try to change reality to meet the model. This is insane to me.

      Being from Eastern Europe, I am not skeptical of Western NGOs at all. There is no doubt in my mind that they are all doing Satan’s work.

      They are not about “personal ideas about how the world should look”, or some idealistic concept or model of a better world. They are just a tool in colonization and exploitation of local population. Nothing more, nothing less.

      For example, Russians did not ban LGBT organizations because they hate LGBT individuals, but because those organizations have been used as a tool for eroding the state, society, and it’s traditional values. Talk about human rights and equality was never anything but a big fat lie. Westerners have always considered Slavs as subhumans that should be exterminated or enslaved.

  6. JohnA

    Re ‘They always seem to advocate changes that reflect their Western biases, or personal ideas about how the world should look. They start from their model and try to change reality to meet the model. This is insane to me.’

    In my experience, that is exactly decribes the approach management consultants adopt when brought in to help companies ‘develop’.

    1. Ben Panga

      I’ve no direct experience of management consultants but I can very much believe it John.

      I have noticed this habit of “starting analysis from a mental model, not from reality” or “confusing one’s model with reality” almost everywhere – teaching, economics, all kinds of policy etc.

      A model cannot be a perfectly accurate representation of reality; at best it’s a useful approximation, at worst it’s complete garbage.

      I think it’s an extremely common fundamental mistake humans make. I still often make it myself, for example by getting frustrated when something (or someone!) does not function as it ‘should’. I try to remember that every thought I have with ‘should’ in it is me fighting reality.

      I believe the Buddhists have a lot of wisdom on the topic.

  7. eduardo

    The philanthropist is a parasite on misery as the doctor is on disease, said an acerbic Irishman (G.B.Shaw). He added that charity is the most mischievous sort of pruriency. NGOers and good-willing politicians in search of a career transition to keep busy and live lavishly on expense claims, are just that : parasites on social, human misery.

    The International Labor Office (ILO) estimated at 21 million the number of people forced into modern slavery in 2012, or about one in every 340 people worldwide. The 2021 estimates indicate there are 50 million people, or roughly one of every 150 people in the world, in situations of modern slavery.

    We could hardly consider that an improvement. It would be interesting to compute the correlation between the increase in numbers (which unfortunately I don’t have) of NGOs and high-brow foundations dedicated to fight slavery, and the numbers of people reduced to the condition of modern slaves. Whatever the exact correlation value, it is likely that another “Global Commission on Modern Slavery” could only make things worse. We don’t need that.

    Slavery is quite a sticky inheritance. As in ancient and in modern times, contemporary slavery is strongly linked to an imperialist, predatory and exploitative socioeconomic system.

    Migrant populations, a vulnerable target of contemporary slave-masters, exist because of either imperialist aggression (Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Iraq, black Africa, etc.), or of economic oppression by imperialism-backed regimes (African and Latin American countries). It will be mission impossible to effectively tackle the migration problem without attacking the root cause. NGOs cannot do it. Genteel foundations and commissions won’t do it.

    The prevailing economics in the “capitalist” world is running on debt. Home mortgage, car debt, credit card debt, education debt, consumer debt,… a large chunk of the world population sinks in debt, is forced to accept job deals otherwise unacceptable. One-fifth of all people in forced labor exploitation is in situations of debt bondage, indicates the ILO. Shall we expect the Theresa May’s of the world to tell financiers, banks and administration executives to curb the indebtedness trend?

    Still according to the ILO, An estimated 3.9 million people were in state-imposed forced labor at
    any point in time in 2021. That’s bad enough. And yet the ILO did not account for the new phenomenon of “workfare”. At the beginning of the century, people in France, England, Italy, practically everywhere expressed their outrage by the Chinese state’s use of inmates’ forced labor to manufacture the goods exported to the rest of the world. A few years later, in 2011, the British government passed a set of “workfare” laws allowing employment center managers to subject people to disguised forced labor, by requiring unemployed people to do a month’s work without pay at charities, government offices or supermarket chains. If they do not take part, claimants have their benefits removed for 13 weeks. After a second failure to take part, benefits are removed for six months. Official statistics reveal that from May 2011, when the scheme started, until November, 24,010 job seekers were referred to work unpaid for four weeks, 30 hours a week. Under another “workfare” program, jobless youngsters were sent to work for supermarkets and budget stores for up to two months without pay and no guarantee of a job. Currently, the French parliament is examining a law package with a similar gist. If legislators feel entitled to cut benefits that do not belong neither to them nor to the state, benefits that were financed by the lifelong worker’s contributions deducted on each pay slip, what should we expect of the classy Theresa May-like, or the mundane NGOs anti-modern slavery institutions?

  8. roxan

    My relatives in India, who are college professors and engineers but still rather poor, said they hosted a Peace Corp volunteer for awhile. He turned out to be a nuisance, always telling them what to do, and ignoring advice. They told him to keep the shutters closed at night to avoid mosquitoes (no netting) but he preferred sleeping outside and soon became ill. They considered him a liability that they had to look after. I wonder if that is not often the case.

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