United Nations | Xinhua | United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has reiterated that slavery is not allowed in the 21st century.
Commemorating the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, the UN chief highlighted the impact of the contemporary forms of slavery, underscoring that “such abhorrent practices have no space in the 21st century.”
In a message, the top UN official said that global protests this year against systemic racism brought renewed attention to a “legacy of injustices all over the world whose roots lie in the dark history of colonialism and slavery.”
“But slavery is not simply a matter of history.”
Globally, more than 40 million people are still victims of contemporary slavery, including about 25 million in forced labor and about 15 million in forced marriage, according to UN estimates.
“Poor and marginalized groups, in particular racial and ethnic minorities, indigenous peoples and migrants, are dis-proportionally affected by contemporary forms of slavery,” Guterres said.
“Gender inequality further reinforces patterns of discrimination,” he added.
Slavery manifests itself through descent-based servitude, forced labor, child labor, domestic servitude, forced marriage, debt bondage, trafficking in persons for the purpose of exploitation, including sexual exploitation, and the forced recruitment of children in armed conflict.
The UN chief urged all sections of the society to strengthen their collective efforts to end the abhorrent practices.
The International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, commemorated each year on Dec. 2, marks the date of the adoption of the UN Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of others. The convention was entered into force in 1951.