UN chief calls for end to modern slavery

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UNUN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday warned that the practice of forced bondage continued to resound around the world.

He said the bondage continued from forced labour and trafficking to sexual exploitation and captivity inslavery-like conditions.

Ki-moon said this in a message marking the `International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade’ in New York.

“Tragically, slavery has still not ended; slavery stubbornly persists in many parts of the world.

“I call for a renewal of our commitment to end modern slavery, so our children will live in a world free of racism and prejudice with equal opportunity and rights for all.

“Meanwhile, these despicable practices could not exist without deep-seated racism.

“It is absolutely vital that the dangers inherent in racism are made crystal clear to all,’’ Ki-moon stressed.

He also acknowledged that women slaves had played a key role in maintaining the dignity of their communities, adding that, too often, their leadership and brave resistance have been underestimated or forgotten.

The UN chief said that the Trans-Atlantic slave trade remained a monstrous crime and a stain on human history.

“On this important Day of Remembrance, I call for a renewal of our commitment to end modern slavery.

“So our children will live in a world free of racism and prejudice with equal opportunity and rights for all,’’ he said.

The UN secretary-general also unveiled the `Ark of Return,’ a permanent memorial honouring slaves, which he said would “bring home to people from around the world the terrible legacy of the slave trade.’’

On 25 March every year since 2007, the UN observes the International Day to honour the over 15 million men, women and children who suffered and died during the over 400-year Trans-Atlantic slave trade.

This year’s theme: “Women and Slavery,” paid tribute to and celebrates the strength of the many enslaved women who endured unbearable hardships, including sexual exploitation.

It also paid tribute to those who fought for freedom from slavery and advocated for its abolition.

According to the UN, it is estimated that one third of the approximately 15 million people who were deported from Africa through the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade were women.

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