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Modern slavery on the rise: 50 million trapped, Engage Now Africa calls for action
Modern slavery on the rise: 50 million trapped, Engage Now Africa calls for action

Modern slavery on the rise: 50 million trapped, Engage Now Africa calls for action

As the world observes the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, a grim reality persists: modern slavery is not a relic of the past, but a growing threat with 50 million people trapped in its clutches worldwide.

Engage Now Africa, a NGO, is sounding the alarm, highlighting a significant increase in forced labour and forced marriage over the past five years, according to the latest estimates from the International Labour Organization (ILO). This translates to 10 million more people in modern slavery compared to 2016.

"Despite its illegality, slavery thrives in various forms," emphasizes Engage Now Africa. "Forced labour, debt bondage, forced marriage, and human trafficking – these are the faces of modern slavery, trapping individuals in a cycle of exploitation they cannot escape."

The statistics paint a disturbing picture:

  • Half of all forced labor and a quarter of all forced marriages occur in high-income countries. This shatters the myth that slavery is confined to developing nations.
  • Women and children remain disproportionately vulnerable. An estimated 28 million are in forced labour, and 22 million in forced marriages, with children making up nearly one in eight of those forced into labour.
  • The private sector is the biggest culprit. A staggering 86% of forced labour cases occur in private businesses, highlighting the need for corporate accountability.
  • Engage Now Africa urges immediate action, calling on governments and NGOs to adopt a four-pronged approach – the 4Ps:
  • Prevention: Building awareness, identifying vulnerable populations, and addressing gaps in detection are crucial to stopping slavery before it starts.
  • Protection: Equipping social workers and shelters to provide comprehensive care and support for victims is essential for their healing and reintegration.
  • Prosecution: Strengthening legal frameworks and enhancing law enforcement efforts are vital to bringing perpetrators to justice and deterring future offenses.
  • Partnership: Collaborative efforts across borders and among governments, NGOs, and media are key to tackling the complexities of cross-border trafficking.

"We acknowledge the efforts of government institutions, but we must do more," Engage Now Africa insists. "Increased support from NGOs and media is crucial to amplify the fight against slavery in all its forms."

The organization reiterates its commitment to a future where every individual, particularly in Africa, can live free from exploitation. By fostering international cooperation, raising awareness, and bolstering survivor support, Engage Now Africa envisions a world free from the chains of modern slavery.

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This International Day for the Abolition of Slavery serves as a stark reminder that the fight is far from over. With collective action, we can dismantle the systems that perpetuate modern slavery and build a just and equitable future for all.

Read the entire press release below;

INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE ABOLITION OF SLAVERY

The International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, 2nd December, marks the day 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).

After centuries of struggle, slavery was eventually declared illegal at the global level in 1948 under the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Despite this action, Slavery still exist in other forms refers to as "Modern slavery". Modern slavery is not defined in law, it is used as an umbrella term covering practices such as forced labour, debt bondage, forced marriages, and human trafficking. 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. ILO, 2016

the world, and Modern slavery occurs in almost every country in the world, and cuts across ethnic, cultural and religious lines. More than half (52 per cent) of all forced labour and a quarter of all forced marriages can be found in upper-middle income or high-income countries. ILO, 2016.

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) latest estimate shows that forced labour and forced marriages have increased significantly in the last five years. 10 million more people were in modern slavery in 2021 compared to 2016 global estimates, bringing the total to 50 million worldwide. Women and children remain vulnerable. An estimated 50 million people are in modern slavery, including 28 million in forced labour and 22 million in forced marriages. Almost one in eight of all those in forced labour are children. More than half of these children are in commercial sexual exploitation. Most cases of forced labour (86 per cent) are found in the private sector. Almost four out of five of those in forced commercial sexual exploitation are women or girls. Source ILO, 2022.

On this International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, we at Engage Now Africa call on non- Governmental organizations and Government institutions particularly those in Africa to take immediate action to address contemporary forms of slavery through what we call the 4P's:

Prevention: Develop and implement capacity building strategy that enhances awareness in issues of trafficking and addresses gaps in identifying people at risk.

Protection: Enhance capacities of social workers, caregivers in transitional shelters and selected residential homes inthe provision of comprehensive care to victims of trafficking risk.

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Protection: Enhance capacities of social workers, caregivers in transitional shelters and selected residential homes in the provision of comprehensive care to victims of trafficking.

Prosecution: Improve the Effectiveness of Prosecution Efforts for Trafficking and to Strengthen Legal and Regulatory Framework for Combating Human Trafficking.

We acknowledge that Government institutions mandated by law and legislation have done more and we hope they will receive more support from NGOs and media institutions to combat human trafficking and its related issues for the coming years.

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Partnership: Increase cooperation amongst International, national and regional cooperation amor actors in the fight against cross border trafficking.

Engage Now Africa reiterates its commitment to the world especially Africa where every individual can live free from the complexities of exploitation. 

By fostering international cooperation, raising awareness, and strengthening survivor's support projects and collectively strive to eradicate contemporary slavery in all of its forms and build a more just and equitable future for all.

Prosecution: Improve the Effectiveness of Prosecution Efforts for Trafficking and to Strengthen Legal and Regulatory Framework for Combating Human Trafficking. 

We acknowledge that Government institutions mandated by law and legislation have done more and we hope they will receive more support from NGOs and media institutions to combat human trafficking and its related issues for the coming years.

Partnership: Increase cooperation amongst International, national and regional actors in the fight against cross border trafficking.

Engage Now Africa reiterates its commitment to the world especially Africa where every individual can live free from the complexities of exploitation. 

By fostering international cooperation, raising awareness, and strengthening survivor's support projects and collectively strive to eradicate contemporary slavery in all of its forms and build a more just and equitable future for all.

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