Modern slavery is young girls in America being forced to have sex with adults. It’s women in Europe lured by the promise of a new life but subjugated to hazardous labor without pay. It’s millions of men and women, boys and girls, being raped, trafficked, and exploited all over the world.
Today, on International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, there are 21 million people enslaved, disenfranchised without crime, and shackled across the world – more slaves than ever before in human history. Every 30 seconds, another person becomes a victim. Every 30 seconds, a life is damaged.
Halting modern day slavery is a human rights and foreign policy priority for the United States. President Obama, speaking last year to the millions in bondage, said: “We see you. We hear you. We insist on your dignity. And we share the belief that if just given the chance, you will forge a life equal to your talents and worthy of your dreams.” Earlier this year, the White House welcomed over 100 civil society leaders, including slavery survivors, to seek ways to educate the public, expand services for survivors, and support victims. The Obama Administration also recently established the Partnership for Freedom, a public-private partnership effort to help communities support survivors of slavery.
Slavery is far from abolished; it pervades our modern societies and affects each and every one of us. Let us use this day to rededicate ourselves to ending its evil once and for all so that subsequent generations, when they celebrate this day, mark the true abolition of this heinous human horror.
- Cross posted from U.S. Mission to the UN