Commemorating the International Day of Abolition of Slavery today, 2nd December once again is an unfortunate yet necessary reminder that slavery still exists, despite the advancement the human race had made over centuries. Presently, 21 million men, women and children around the world continue to be trapped in slavery. Manifested in the form of trafficking, sexual exploitation, worst forms of child labour, forced marriage and the forced recruitment of children for use in armed conflict, slavery deprives those affected by it of their most fundamental rights as human beings.
Globally, as many as 5.5 million children are languishing in slavery. These include the hardest to reach category of children who are caught in the most hazardous, difficult and hidden forms of child labour, missing out on education and childhood. Child slavery signifies violence against children. It is an obstacle to the attainment of education and the inter-linked development goal of poverty alleviation. To move towards sustainable development, child slavery must be placed with an urgent focus and concerted action from all stakeholders – governments, civil society, businesses and the public at large. Mobilising everyone in the fight to end child slavery, Global March Against Child Labour with others is leading the largest campaign of the times, i.e., the End Child Slavery Week. In its inaugural year, the campaign is demanding for inclusion of the abolition of child slavery in the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals. A petition carrying this demand will be hand-delivered to UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, next year.
Speaking on the International Day of Abolition of Slavery, Kailash Satyarthi, Chairperson Global March Against Child Labour commented, “While with the global civil society, Global March is demanding for inclusion of child slavery in the new development goals, at the national level we once again call upon the Parliament of India, a nation with the largest number of children trapped in child labour and slavery to give clearance to the long-pending Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill to ban all forms of child labour till 14 years and hazardous child labour till 18 years.”