It’s only on December 2th 1949 that the United Nations Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others was adopted. This is why we celebrate the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, but even after all this time, too many people are still suffering from slavery. We can think of human trafficking, child labour with pitiful conditions, bonded labour, sexual exploitation, forced marriage and recruitment of children for the benefit of some groups in armed conflict.
The count of the victims of forced labour is at least 21 million around the world. The numbers are almost even between women and men, with 11.4 million to 9.5 million. Most of them are slaves, to individuals or enterprises. The sectors most concerned are construction, manufacturing, entertainment and domestic work. There’s at least 4.5 million victims of forced sexual exploitation around the world.
Together, we can make a difference by boycotting corporations involved in modern slavery. Who made your clothes? Where is the workplace? How are the conditions? Forced labour can be seen on many levels and we are exposed to a world where lies can be fulfilled. They won’t tell you the truth by themselves for sure, so we need to become more ethical and conscious about what we buy and let our wallets speak. The private economy makes over 150 billion dollars in illegal profits each year from slavery. We might profit from better prices because of that, but human rights should take over this fact. Sadly, we are willing participants without even knowing about it in some cases.
2 million slaves are in the hands of a state or rebel groups. You might not be surprised about this kind of group to do so, but I’ve never imagined this huge amount of persons being exploited by such awful people. There will always be particularly vulnerable people because of wars, conflicts, racism, misogyny, ignorance, violence and so much more. Migrant workers and indigenous people are also more likely to be victims of forced labour.
We’ve been tolerating this mess for way too long, and it’s time to change these things. It shouldn’t be that way and we need to stand up against slavery for the sake of humanity.