On the International Day for The Abolition of Slavery, the United Nations (UN) recalled that over 40 million people across the globe are victims of modern slavery, a practice that includes forced labor, debt bondage, forced marriage, and human trafficking.
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“These forms of slavery are the result of long-standing discrimination against vulnerable social sectors such as undocumented immigrants, LGBT people, and Indigenous citizens,” the UN warned, stressing that neoliberal globalization has boosted these practices.
“The economic recession prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic has also increased these forms of slavery, especially children’s forced labor since many countries have to close educational centers,” the UN added.
Almost 80 million children between 5 and 17 years old are subjected to hazardous work even though the UN Convention on Child Rights protects minors from economic exploitation and performing any work that is likely to harm them or interfere with their education.
In 2014, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) adopted a global protocol to establish policies that fight and eliminate forced labor. However, 20 million people are still exploited for domestic, construction, or agriculture work, and 4,8 million citizens are forced into sexual exploitation.
“Women and girls are the biggest victims of this last practice since they represent almost 99 percent of the people being coerced into the commercial sex industry,” the UN lamented.
“To fight modern slavery, it is indispensable that we listen to survivors and support providers about their experiences and incorporate such crucial insights into policy guidance. Only this way, we will put an end to these inhumane practices,” U.K. Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner Sara Thornton stated.