Governments, Societies Must Recommit to End Slavery, Secretary-General Observance Message Urges, Warning 50 Million People Suffering Exploitation, Abuse

Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message on the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, observed on 2 December:

As we commemorate the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, we need to recognize that the legacy of the transatlantic trade of enslaved Africans reverberates to this day, scarring our societies and impeding equitable development.

We must also identify and eradicate contemporary forms of slavery, such as trafficking in persons, sexual exploitation, child labour, forced marriage and the use of children in armed conflict.  The latest Global Estimates of Modern Slavery on forced labour and forced marriage reveal that, in 2021, some 50 million persons were thus enslaved, and this number has been growing.

The most marginalized groups remain particularly vulnerable, including ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities, migrants, children and persons with diverse gender identities and sexual orientations.  The majority of these vulnerable persons are women.

On this International Day, I call on Governments and societies to recommit to eradicating slavery.  Increased action needs to be taken with full participation of all stakeholders, including the private sector, trade unions, civil society and human rights institutions.  I also urge all countries to protect and uphold the rights of victims and survivors of slavery.

For information media. Not an official record.