International Day for Abolition of Slavery

International Day for Abolition of Slavery

According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) more than 40 million people worldwide are victims of modern slavery. International Day for Abolition of Slavery is observed on 2 December every year, to commemorate the brutal history of slavery practiced by colonial rulers of past centuries and aims to eradicate modern forms of slavery. In this article we will read about the day and its significance.


Facts about International Day for Abolition of Slavery

Observed On 2 December
Global Efforts
  • Convention on the rights of the child
  • 50 for freedom campaign
Facts about Slavery ILO

  • Around 150 million children are subject to child labour across the world.
  • More than 16 million people under forced labour are exploited in the private sector like domestic work, construction and agriculture.
  • Around 4.8 Million people are forced into sexual exploitation every year.


About International Day for Abolition of Slavery

International Day for Abolition of Slavery is observed on 2 December to focus on eradicating contemporary forms of slavery. Although modern slavery is not defined in law, it is used as an umbrella term covering practices such as forced labour, debt bondage, forced marriage, and human trafficking. Essentially, it refers to situations of exploitation that a person cannot refuse or leave because of threats, violence, coercion, deception or abuse of power.


History of International Day for Abolition of Slavery

  • Slavery has been practiced in several parts of the world. The history reminds us of the tragedy, cruelty and the unjust and inhumane practises resorted to enslaved mass populations. The most recent example of slavery in modern history is that of Trans-Atlantic slavery.
  • The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) approved the Convention for Suppression of Traffic in Persons and of Exploitation of Prostitution of Others (resolution 317(IV)), on 2 December 1949.
  • Then on 18th December 2002 by passing the Resolution 57/195 the UN Assembly notified 2004 as the International Year to memorialise the Struggle against Slavery and its Abolition.
  • ILO has adopted a new legally binding Protocol designed to strengthen global efforts to eliminate forced labour, which entered into force in November 2016.

Significance of International Day for Abolition of Slavery

  • The old slavery has been abolished but the UN human rights bodies have found the persistence of old forms of slavery that are embedded in traditional beliefs and customs, which has given rise to the modern form of slavery.
  • These forms of slavery are the result of long-standing discrimination against the most vulnerable groups in societies, such as those regarded as being of low caste, tribal minorities and indigenous peoples.
  • Thus, the day is used to remind people of the evil practices that leads to the human trafficking and child labour that flourish on a global scale especially in the current era of Globalisation.
  • This is because Globalisation has given a platform for growth of informal economies and economic disparities between nations which has increased the flows of labour and commodities across international borders.
  • The day raises awareness of these kind of slavery which are international problems and proceed against article 4 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that states that no one should be trapped in slavery, and all the forms of slave trades should be prohibited.

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