UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 3 — UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Wednesday nearly 21 million people are enslaved in the world today and that the international community has a responsibility to end this outrage.
Slavery has many modern forms, from the children toiling as domestic servants, farmhands and factory workers, to the bonded laborers struggling to pay off ever-surmounting debts, to the victims of sex trafficking who endure horrific abuse, Ban said in a message to mark the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery.
“Although statistics about these crimes are difficult to compile, experts estimate that nearly 21 million people are enslaved in our world today. We have a responsibility to them, and to all those at risk, to end this outrage,” he said.
In light of current severe humanitarian crises, Ban warned that “more than 60 million people have been driven from their homes. They may be at risk of trafficking and enslavement — along with millions of others crossing borders in search of a better life.”
By adopting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, world leaders specifically set the objectives of eradicating forced labor and human trafficking — and ending all forms of modern slavery and child labor, according to Ban.
“As we strive to achieve these targets, we must also rehabilitate freed victims and help them integrate into society,” he said.
The United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery has extended humanitarian, financial and legal assistance to tens of thousands of victims around the world, he said.
Therefore, Ban urged “member States, businesses, private foundations and other donors to demonstrate their commitment to ending slavery by ensuring that this Fund has the resources to fulfil its mandate.”
Concluding his message, Ban called on the International Community to “resolve to use the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as a roadmap for stamping out root causes and freeing all enslaved people in our world.”
The day marks the General Assembly’s adoption on Dec. 2, 1949 of the UN Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others. (Xinhua)