Factsheet : Slavery Today
“We should remember that even today, many millions of our fellow human beings are subjected to slavery-like practices…For all that has been accomplished in our campaign for human rights, we still have much to do.”
Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon
Modern Forms of Slavery
The first annual International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade also serves as a reminder that contemporary forms of slavery – such as human traficking, forced prostitution, child soldiers, forced and bonded labour and the use of children in the international drug trade – are still flourishing today, largely as a result of vulnerability exacerbated by poverty, discrimination and social exclusion.
- It is estimated that more than 250,000 children are currently being exploited as child soldiers in as many as 30 areas of conflict around the world. Many of the kidnapped girls who are made into child soldiers are also forced into sexual slavery.
- The International Organization for Migration estimates that annually 700,000 women, girls, men and boys are being traficked across borders away from their homes and families and into slavery.
- An estimated 5.7 million children are victims of forced and bonded labour, also known as debt bondage, and 1.2 million children are victims of child trafficking.
- Linked to trafficking is the commercial sexual exploitation of children of whom 1 million, mainly girls, are forced into prostitution every year. These girls are sold for sex or used in child pornography in both the developed and the developing world.
“Despairingly credible comparisons of scale and suffering may be drawn with the trans-Atlantic trade in Africans in the Americas in which more than 12 million people were forcibly transported over the ocean in four hundred years. It is to our great shame that if today’s statistics are correct, and 700, 000 people are now being trafficked across borders into slavery annually, we will have equaled that total in a mere 20 years.”
Mrs. Ndioro Ndiaye Deputy Director General International Organization of Migration
It is the responsibility of us all to work to address the root causes of slavery, to provide assistance and protection to its victims and to ensure that there is no impunity for those who perpetuate the practice.
- Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict
- International Labour Organization,
The end of child labour: Within reach (2006) [pdf]
- Speech of the Deputy Director General of the International Organization for Migration (5 March 2007)