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International Day for the Abolition of Slavery
2 December

"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
Message for the International Day
for the Abolition of Slavery
2 December 2014

Children engaged in stone and sand collection in Jaflong, Sylhet (Bangladesh

Children engaged in stone and sand collection in Jaflong, Sylhet (Bangladesh). UN/Regina Merkova

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.

Today, 21 million women, men and children are trapped in slavery all over the world. The International Labour Organization (ILO) has teamed up with prominent artists, athletes and advocates in its new campaign to End Slavery Now.

In 2007 the UN marked the 200th Anniversary of the Abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade on 25 March. In 2008 the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade became an annual observance.

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