International Day for the Abolition of Slavery 02 Dec 2006
The word 'slavery' today covers a variety of human rights violations. In addition to traditional slavery and the slave trade, these abuses include the sale of children, child prostitution, child pornography, the exploitation of child labour, the sexual mutilation of female children, the use of children in armed conflicts, debt bondage, the traffic in persons and in the sale of human organs, the exploitation of prostitution, and certain practices under apartheid and colonial régimes.
-- Fact Sheet No. 14, Contemporary Forms of Slavery, Office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
'More than fifty years ago, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stated in its Article 4 that "no one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms". Despite the many efforts made to abolish all forms of slavery, it is not dead. It exists, and is even on the rise in some parts of the world. This is an affront to every free man and woman, indeed to all of humanity. New forms of slavery, such as sexual exploitation of children, child labour, bonded labour, serfdom, migrant labour, domestic labour, forced labour, slavery for ritual or religious purposes and trafficking pose a great challenge to all of us.
The international community has drafted treaties on slavery but many States have yet to ratify and implement the different treaties and to identify what needs to be done to eliminate slavery in all parts of the world. Surely, the time has come to unite all States behind the principle of ending slavery, so that we can end it in practice. Furthermore, there is an urgent demand for laws and action to ensure that new forms of exploitation and oppression do not take the form of slavery, and that those responsible for slavery-like practices are identified and stopped.