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Victims of modern slavery

According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), more than 40 million people worldwide are victims of this practice, and despite having been abolished several hundred years ago, ‘modern forms’ of illegal slavery still exist in several regions around the world, including forced labour and sexual exploitation.


Ibis Frade


Modern slavery is not defined in the law, but is used as a general term to describe practices such as labour exploitation, debt bondage, forced marriage and human trafficking.

According to the UN site dedicated to this issue, the term essentially refers to situations of exploitation that a person cannot refuse or escape due to threats, violence, coercion, deception and/or abuse of power.

In addition, over 150 million children are subject to child labour, which represents almost one in 10 minors around the world.

The UN estimates that more than 40.3 million people are currently living in conditions of modern slavery, that is, an average of 5.4 victims per thousand people in the world. Of these people, one in four are children.

Likewise, women and girls are disproportionately affected by forced labour; they represent 99% of the victims in the commercial sex industry and 58% in other sectors, the UN warns. To address these problems, the ILO adopted a new legally binding protocol, which entered into force in November 2016 and was designed to strengthen global efforts to stamp out forced labour.

One of the main causes of modern slavery is poverty, with those suffering from poverty being particularly vulnerable, especially children.

This condition of vulnerability causes the person to fall more easily (either voluntarily or by force) into one of the forms of slavery that exist today.

These include bonded labour, forced labour, human trafficking, child labour, child or forced marriage, and sexual exploitation.

The exploitation of women, children and girls for prostitution and provision of sexual services in exchange for money is one of the main forms of modern slavery, and the most lucrative of all.

The Ark of Return

This monument is designed by architect Rodney Leon to pay tribute to the victims of slavery and is located at the entrance of the United Nations building in New York.

It was inaugurated on 25 March 2015, marking the first major event of the International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024).

It is a tribute to the millions of Africans forced to leave their lands to serve as slaves, and to the generations that saw their freedom and human dignity denied for centuries.

Many lost their lives on the path from Africa to Latin America and the Caribbean, and many others were subjected to inhuman exploitation in the so-called ‘new continent’.

For almost 500 years, more than 15 million people were victims of the transatlantic slave trade, brought to Latin America and the Caribbean by force, but who took with them their culture and cosmology of life.

Although they were forced to deny their traditions, abandon their religion and customs, and were subjected to harsh physical punishment and humiliation, their resistance now transcends among their great legacies. (PL)

(Translated by Lucy Daghorn – Email: – Photos: Pixabay

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