International Day for the Abolition of Slavery 2021: Significance, history and all you need to know about this day

08:50 PM Dec 01, 2021 | FPJ Web Desk

Organized by the United Nations General Assembly since 1986, the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery is a yearly event on December 2.

The world has made massive progress but there are a large number of people who are victims of slavery, maybe not the old traditional form of slavery, but the new modern forms. According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), more than 40 million people worldwide are victims of modern slavery.


Although modern slavery is not defined in law, it is used as an umbrella term covering practices such as forced labour, debt bondage, forced marriage, and human trafficking. More than 150 million children are subject to child labour, accounting for almost one in ten children around the world. And women and girls are disproportionately affected by forced labour, accounting for 99% of victims in the commercial sex industry, and 58% in other sectors.


Essentially, it refers to situations of exploitation that a person cannot refuse or leave because of threats, violence, coercion, deception, and/or abuse of power.

Also Read: Human Trafficking: Prostitution worst form of slavery, says DCW chief Swati Maliwal


December 2, marks the date of the adoption 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 (resolution 317(IV) of 2 December 1949).

The main objective of this day is to eradicate contemporary forms of slavery, such as trafficking in persons, sexual exploitation, the worst forms of child labour, forced marriage, and the forced recruitment of children for use in armed conflict.

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The origins of slavery are lost to human memory. It is sometimes hypothesized that at some moment it was decided that persons detained for a crime or as a result of warfare would be more useful if put to work.

Slavery existed in ancient India, where it is recorded in the Sanskrit 'Laws of Manu' of the 1st century BCE. The institution was little documented until the British colonials in the 19th century made it an object of study because of their desire to abolish it.

Malabar had the largest proportion of slaves, about 15 percent of the total population.

The Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others was approved by the United Nations General Assembly on December 2, 1949. Besides, by resolution 57/195 of 18 December 2002, the Assembly proclaimed 2004 the International Year to Commemorate the Struggle against Slavery and its Abolition.

Also Read: Pakistan PM Imran Khan endorses Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, says they've 'broken shackles of slavery'

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