19 February 2015

Stressing 21 Million People Are ‘Modern Slaves’, Secretary-General Urges Further Global Efforts to End Trafficking, in World Day for Social Justice Message

Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for the World Day of Social Justice, to be observed on 20 February:

World Day for Social Justice comes at a pivotal moment for people and our planet.  Around the world, there is a rising call to secure a life of dignity for all with equal rights and respect for the diverse voices of the world’s peoples.  At the core of this movement lies the need for social justice.

This year’s commemoration focuses on the scourge of human trafficking and the plight of approximately 21 million women, men and children in various forms of modern slavery.  New instruments such as the International Labour Organization (ILO) Protocol and Recommendation on forced labour and human trafficking are helping to strengthen global efforts to punish perpetrators and end impunity.  We must continue to do more.  We simply cannot achieve development for all if we leave behind those who are socially and economically exploited.

In this crucial year for global development, as Member States work to craft a post-2015 agenda and a new set of sustainable development goals, let us do our utmost to eradicate all forms of human exploitation.  Let us strive to build a world of social justice where all people can live and work in freedom, dignity and equality.

For information media. Not an official record.