Cape Town – The United Nations has called for the complete eradication of contemporary forms of slavery to mark International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, which was first commemorated on December 2, 1949.
The focus is on eradicating trafficking in people, sexual exploitation, child labour, forced marriage and the forced recruitment of children for use in armed conflict, the UN said in a statement issued on Thursday.
“We must never forget the suffering of millions of African men, women and children under the transatlantic slave trade,” UN secretary-general António Guterres posted on Twitter.
“As we mark Abolition of Slavery Day, I honour the resilience of those who endured and pay tribute to those who sacrificed their lives in the quest for freedom.”
Some of the more than 40 million victims of slavery today are forced to produce the clothes people wear, the food they eat, or construct the buildings they live and work in, Guterres said, adding: “I call on countries, civil society and the private sector to strengthen collective action to end slavery.”
“And while some may believe slavery to be a thing of the past, this evil continues to blight our modern world. Let us join forces to end the degradation and inhumanity of modern slavery once and for all,” the UN chief said.
According to the UN, slavery has evolved and manifested itself in different ways throughout history. Some traditional forms of the scourge still persist in their earlier forms, while others have been transformed into new ones.
UN human rights agencies have documented the persistence of old forms of slavery that are embedded in traditional beliefs and customs and are the result of long-standing discrimination against the most vulnerable groups in societies, such as those regarded as being of low caste, tribal minorities and indigenous people.
African News Agency (ANA)