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International Day for the Abolition of Slavery

Slavery is not merely a historical relic

According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) more than 40 million people worldwide are victims of modern slavery. Although modern slavery is not defined in law, it is used as an umbrella term covering practices such as forced labour, debt bondage, forced marriage, 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.

In addition, more than 150 million children are subject to child labour, accounting for almost one in ten children around the world. ILO has adopted a new legally binding Protocol designed to strengthen global efforts to eliminate forced labour, which entered into force in November 2016.

Historically, slavery has existed in the Philippines for centuries, including slaves “owned” by traditional Filipino rulers or leaders and later by the Spanish colonialists. However, the Philippines has emerged as the top ten countries for the practice of modern-day slavery. According to the Labour Exploitation Accountability Hub, thousands of OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) are trafficked and subjected to forced labour in many industries, such as construction, manufacturing, agriculture, fishing, seafaring, and all aspects of service sector all over the world specially in Asia and in the Middle East. The Philippines has also become an epicentre of the growth of cybersex trafficking with an increasing number of Filipino children who have been victimized and abused by cybersex trafficking. While there are several laws which have been enacted in the Philippines to prevent modern slavery in its diverse forms, there remain many challenges in enforcing them.

Concern has also been raised over how Canadian businesses can be affected by modern slavery through their supply chains [See:]. For example, “World Vision Canada reported in 2017 that $34 billion of goods imported in to Canada each year may have been produced by child or forced labour” Furthermore, Canada is still lacking in laws to prohibit the use of modern slavery in the production of goods procured by the Canadian government or requiring disclosure of Canadian businesses in the sourcing or production of their products or services.

Quotations About Slavery

If not now, then when? If not you, then who? If we are able to answer these fundamental questions, then perhaps we can wipe away the blot of human slavery. Kailash Satyarthi

Although slavery may have been abolished, the crippling poison of racism still persists, and the struggle still continues. Harry Belafonte

The prolonged slavery of women is the darkest page in human history. Elizabeth Cady Stanton

For in reason, all government without the consent of the governed is the very definition of slavery. Jonathan Swift

Freedom means you are unobstructed in living your life as you choose. Anything less is a form of slavery. Wayne Dyer

When you look at a corporation, just like when you look at a slave owner, you want to distinguish between the institution and the individual. So slavery, for example, or other forms of tyranny, are inherently monstrous. The individuals participating in them may be the nicest guys you can imagine. Noam Chomsky

Most Christian 'believers' tend to echo the cultural prejudices and worldviews of the dominant group in their country, with only a minority revealing any real transformation of attitudes or consciousness. It has been true of slavery and racism, classism and consumerism and issues of immigration and health care for the poor. Richard Rohr

It surprises people that there’s actually a very large number of slaves in the world today—our best estimate is 27 million. And that is defining a slave in a very narrow way; we’re not talking about sweatshop workers or people who are just poor, we’re talking about people who are controlled by violence, who cannot walk away, who are being held against their will, who are being paid nothing. Kevin Bales

Imagine having all of your freedoms taken away, being forced to work against your will, and constantly living under the threat of violence - in short, being forced to live as a slave. Sadly, this situation is a reality for millions of children, women, and men each year as part of the global human trafficking industry. Bill Flores

Slavery is theft -- theft of a life, theft of work, theft of any property or produce, theft even of the children a slave might have borne.Kevin Bales

As legal slavery passed, we entered into a permanent period of unemployment and underemployment from which we have yet to emerge. Julian Bond

We are asking people to understand that slavery still exists today; in fact, according to a recent New York Times article, if you count the number of women and children in bonded labour, domestic slavery or sexual slavery today, there are more slaves in the world than at any other time in history.” Charlotte Bunch

In the same way that we today think that the slave trade and colonial exploitation were inhuman and inconceivably bestial ways of acquiring riches, there is no doubt that coming generations will think that our form of world trade and distribution of the world's benefits were just as inconceivable and inhuman. Erik Dammann

History has a long-range perspective. It ultimately passes stern judgment on tyrants and vindicates those who fought, suffered, were imprisoned, and died for human freedom, against political oppression and economic slavery. Elizabeth Gurley Flynn

It doesn't take a genius to pump up the GNP [of a developing country] by burning down rainforests, using slave labour and social repression to keep things in place. Hazel Henderson

I won't give up until the exploitation of all children has ended and all children have their rights. Craig Kielburger

The present age handed over the workers, each alone and defenceless, to the unbridled greed of competitors... so that a very few and exceedingly rich men have laid a yoke of almost slavery on the unnumbered masses of non-owning workers. Pope Leo XIII

Massive poverty and obscene inequality are such terrible scourges of our times -- times in which the world boasts breathtaking advances in science, technology, industry and wealth accumulation -- that they have to rank alongside slavery and apartheid as social evils. Nelson Mandela

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds. Won't you help to sing the songs of freedom? Bob Marley

Slavery as an institution that degraded man to a thing has never died out. In some periods of history it has flourished: many civilizations have climbed to power and glory on the backs of slaves. In other times slaves have dwindled in number and economic importance. But never has slavery disappeared. Milton Meltzer

Money is a new form of slavery, and distinguishable from the old simply by the fact that it is impersonal - that there is no human relation between master and slave. Leo Tolstoy

People-trafficking is modern day slavery. There are more slaves today than there were at the height of the slave trade. Ross Kemp

Child slavery is a crime against humanity. Humanity itself is at stake here. A lot of work still remains, but I will see the end of child labour in my lifetime. Kailash Satyarthi

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