International Day for the Abolition of Slavery

On December 2nd 1949, the General Assembly adopted the “United Nations Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of others”.  This covered the eradication of contemporary forms of slavery including trafficking, forced marriage and forcibly recruiting children to enter armed conflict.

According to the figures provided by the United Nations there is an estimated 40.3 million people who are currently in modern slavery, with 1 in 4 of these being children.  Whilst the condemnation and abolition of such barbaric lows of humanity should be celebrated, the atrocities occurring in Libya only shows that slavery did not ‘end’ with abolition.

Sub-Saharan Africans are being sold as slaves in Libya, and a video has surfaced of individuals being sold at auction for as little as $400. Many people are still outraged that these incidences of modern slavery have failed to gain mass media coverage all over the world. The horrific experiences faced by these victims of modern day slavery has only surfaced on social media platforms so far.

Many individuals including celebrities have used social media to raise awareness of the cruel and brutal treatment being inflicted on these people and have given them a voice, when their freedom has been taken away against their will. Images of the conditions in which the people are living in have surfaced and are being circulated, via sharing, retweeting and reposting on various platforms.  However despite social media tackling the issue of minimal coverage of such despicable acts, there is still action to be taken to abolish this complete disregard of humanity.

Currently not many news outlets have commented or even acknowledged the detention of migrants and refuges that are being sold into slavery by smugglers. A group of UN Human Rights experts have ‘strongly condemned’ Libya’s slave trade and have urged the Libyan government to take urgent action. However many would argue this blatant disregard of a UN Convention demands further and more severe action to be taken to prevent more harm to individuals who are already in a vulnerable position.

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others”.  – Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela was a revolutionary man who led his government as the first black President of South Africa and dismantled the history of apartheid.  As President he fought endlessly to bring down the whole system of racial segregation. Nelson Mandela was and still is deemed to be an icon of democracy and social justice. The quote above resonates with most individuals; we are living in a world where we are still fighting for equality and the right to be heard and the right for others to benefit from the protection of the law.


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