"In the 19th century, the international community came together to declare slavery an affront to our common humanity. Today, governments, civil society and the private sector must unite to eradicate all contemporary forms of slavery, including forced labour. Together, let us do our utmost for the millions of victims throughout the world who are held in slavery and deprived of their human rights and dignity."
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Child labour in Myanmar. Photo: ILO/Marcel Crozet
The International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, 2 December, marks the date of the adoption, by the General Assembly, of the United Nations Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others (resolution 317(IV) of 2 December 1949).
The focus of this day is on eradicating contemporary forms of slavery, such as trafficking in persons, sexual exploitation, the worst forms of child labour, forced marriage, and the forced recruitment of children for use in armed conflict.
According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), there are currently an estimated 21 million forced labour victims worldwide, creating US$ 150 billion in illegal profits in the private economy each year.
ILO has adopted a new legally binding Protocol designed to strengthen global efforts to eliminate forced labour, which is set to enter into force in November 2016.
The 50 for Freedom campaign aims to persuade at least 50 countries to ratify the Forced Labour Protocol by 2018.