International Community Must Move Faster to Stop Modern Slavery, Secretary-General Says in Observance Message, Urging Countries to Protect Victims, End Trafficking

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

Slavery is both a historic horror and a contemporary outrage.

On the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, we remember the victims of the past — particularly the millions of African people ripped from their homes, exploited, brutalized or killed during the transatlantic slave trade.  And we think of the 50 million people trapped in modern slavery.

The calls to tackle the enduring effects of slavery and colonialism are growing louder.  The world must respond.  Where appropriate, countries should acknowledge the truth, educate, apologise and offer reparations.  Businesses and others should join them — by addressing their own links to enslavement and the case for reparations.

We must also move much faster to stop this terrible crime today. Countries must legislate, protect the rights of victims, and eradicate the practices and conditions that allow modern slavery to flourish — from trafficking to debt bondage and economic marginalization.  We also need companies to play their part, by ensuring their business practices respect the human rights of all.

Together, let’s right historic wrongs and build a world free from the abomination of slavery.

For information media. Not an official record.