Awareness Month recognizes Dec. 2 as International Day for the Abolition of Slavery. This recognition was adopted on Dec. 2, 1949 by the General Assembly of the United Nations Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others.
This day is meant to bring to light all forms of modern-day slavery throughout the world including child labor, forced marriage, sexual exploitation, trafficking, and the use of children by armed forces in conflict.
It is estimated that 21 million men, women and children are forced into some form of slavery today. Within that 21 million, it is estimated that children make up more than 25 percent. This year, many people are rallying together to spread awareness about the issues and help victims of slavery worldwide.
Artists, athletes and Hollywood celebrities are joining forces with the International Labor Organization (ILO), the UN’s labor agency, to fight modern-day slavery. End Slavery Now! is the organization’s new campaign with advocates such as actresses Maria Bello, Mila Kunis and Jada Pinkett Smith, singer and actress Cher, director Ron Howard and actor Danny Glover taking part in the fight.
“I am proud to join the ILO in the fight against slavery…When we think of slavery, we think of the past. But the truth is that three out of every 1,000 people in the world today are either in forced labor, have been trafficked or work in slave-like conditions…This is wrong and it has to stop,” said Jada Pinkett Smith in a press release from ILO.
In a message, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said,
Every day, in all regions of the world, women are trafficked, sold and locked in brothels for sexual exploitation. Little girls are forcibly married, sexually abused and used as domestic workers. Children work in mines, setting explosives and breathing toxic dust. Others are abducted and turned into soldiers, obliged to kill and torture. Men, separated from their families, are forced to work in plantations or locked in clandestine factories without any salary to repay never-ending debts…Today, governments, civil society and the private sector must unite to eradicate all contemporary forms of slavery…Together, let us do our utmost for the millions of victims throughout the world who are held in slavery and deprived of their human rights and dignity.
To find out more about the ILO End Slavery Now! Campaign, click here
To find more facts about modern-day slavery and how you can TAKE ACTION, click here
Image courtesy of Joseph A. Ferris III on Flickr
Video courtesy of ILO channel on YouTube