International Day for the Abolition of Slavery

Modern slavery

The International Day for the Abolition of Slavery is a yearly event commemorated on December 2, and organized by the UN. The Day was first celebrated in 1986.

Unfortunately, slavery still exist in this day and age, but different from what we knew it as. According to the  International Labour Organisation (ILO) more than 40 million people worldwide are victims of modern slavery.

Modern slavery is an umbrella term covering practices such as forced labour, debt bondage, forced marriage, and human trafficking. In short, it refers to situations of exploitation that a person cannot refuse or leave because of threats, violence, coercion, deception, and/or abuse of power.

In addition, more than 150 million children are subject to child labour, accounting for almost one in ten children around the world.

The majority of child labour that occurs today is for economic exploitation. That goes against the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which recognizes “the right of the child to be protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child’s education, or to be harmful to the child’s health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development.”

Facts and figures:                                                                                                 

  • ‘An estimated 40.3 million people are in modern slavery, including 24.9 in forced labour and 15.4 million in forced marriage.
  • There are 5.4 victims of modern slavery for every 1,000 people in the world.
  • 1 in 4 victims of modern slavery are children.
  • Out of the 24.9 million people trapped in forced labour, 16 million people are exploited in the private sector such as domestic work, construction or agriculture; 4.8 million people in forced sexual exploitation, and 4 million people in forced labour imposed by state authorities.
  • Women and girls are disproportionately affected by forced labour, accounting for 99% of victims in the commercial sex industry, and 58% in other sectors.’

Source: United Nations

A report done in 2018 by the US Department of Labour in Kenya shows that children in Kenya engage in the worst forms of child labor in commercial sexual exploitation. Children also engage in child labor in agriculture. It shows that 35% of children aged 5 to 14 are working.

Even with the NARC government introducing free primary education for Primary schools, a large number of pupils still do not go. They are often force to work in farms, as street vendors, domestic workers or even as beggars

Rampant corruption in the country has made the police turn a blind eye to these cases. So what can we do as a society? We must speak up!

When you see your neighbor whose child is not going to school, compel them to. Do not hire underage children in your farms, home, companies or even small jobs such as messengers. We not allow your underage relative to be forced into a marriage. All these are forms of modern slavery.

It may seem normal as such things have been done for a very long time, but put yourself in the child’s shoes. We should say no to modern slavery today.

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