The International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, 2 December, 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
“On this International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, let us resolve to use the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as a roadmap for stamping out root causes and freeing all enslaved people in our world.”
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
The focus of the day is on eradicating 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
What does ‘modern slavery’ actually mean? The UN explains that:
Forced Labour – alongside traditional forms of forced labour, such as bonded labour and debt bondage there now exist more contemporary forms of forced labour, such as migrant workers, who have been trafficked for economic exploitation of every kind in the world economy: work in domestic servitude, the construction industry, the food and garment industry, the agricultural sector and in forced prostitution.
Trafficking in Persons – means the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion for the purpose of exploitation.
Exploitation – includes prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs. The consent of the person trafficked for exploitation is irrelevant and If the trafficked person is a child, it is a crime even without the use of force.
From 1 November 2015, specified public authorities in the UK (County/District/Borough Councils, Police Forces etc) have had a duty to notify the Secretary of State of any individual encountered in England and Wales who they believe is a suspected victim of slavery or human trafficking. This duty is intended to gather statistics and help build a more comprehensive picture of the nature and scale of modern slavery in the UK.
It is estimated that there were 10,000-13,000 victims of modern slavery in the UK in 2013, but only 1,746 potential victims were referred to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) in the same period. In 2015, this figure rose to 3,266 potential victims.
The Home Office Strategic Communications have produced a partner fact sheet and a poster to help raise awareness of a duty to notify/reporting requirements for Modern slavery and human trafficking amongst relevant organisations.
The HO materials can be downloaded here.