"The UN Voluntary Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery helps restore the human rights and dignity of thousands of victims and their families by awarding grants to projects providing rehabilitation services. I urge Member States, businesses, private foundation and other donors to increase their contributions. Together, we can accelerate our efforts and rid the world of this heinous practice."
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
A domestic worker washes clothes by hand in New Delhi, India. Photo: ILO/B. Patel
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 entered 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.
Facts and figures:
- Almost 21 million people are victims of forced labour – 11.4 million women and girls and 9.5 million men and boys.
- Almost 19 million victims are exploited by private individuals or enterprises and over 2 million by the state or rebel groups.
- Of those exploited by individuals or enterprises, 4.5 million are victims of forced sexual exploitation.
Forced labour in the private economy generates US$ 150 billion in illegal profits per year.
- Domestic work, agriculture, construction, manufacturing and entertainment are among the sectors most concerned.
- Migrant workers and indigenous people are particularly vulnerable to forced labour.