No More Slavery! We Must Learn from the Past to Protect Freedom in the Future
Yesterday was the International Day of Remembrance of the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade! We pay tribute to all the innocent people who have been victims of slavery and human trafficking, whether it happened in the past or today. Because YES, slavery still exists. YES, thousands of men, women and children are still kidnapped, sold, bought, humiliated, beaten up, starved, forced to work under inhuman conditions, enslaved.
What about the Cameroonian migrants who, in hope of a better life, left their home only to be smuggled into Libya and are kept there? Their dream turned into a nightmare. They are prisoners. Their tormentors don’t feed them, and keep asking them huge amounts of money that are impossible to pay in order to be freed. They can’t wash, they sleep on the floor, crowded in small rooms with many other African migrants. Not to mention the regular beatings and torture…
And what about Thailand’s seafood slaves? Tens of thousands of migrant workers from Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam have been trafficked into Thailand and tricked into working on Thai fishing vessels. Here, they have been forced to work in dangerous, harsh and degrading conditions, and have been violently abused and denied basic rights or pay. Worse: many of these migrant workers have witnessed the murder of a fellow worker.
And let’s not forget the 400-year long transatlantic slave trade! It was the largest forced migration in history, and undeniably one of the most inhumane, where millions of Africans were captured, taken to Europe and shipped to South and North America to work until their death.
That’s why today, we honor the memory of the many victims of human trafficking and slavery. We must never forget them, and learn from the past so that we don’t make the same mistakes in the future. Governments and businesses must protect workers and migrants, respect labour rights and business and human rights standards to truly end slavery!
Watch the full video of the Cameroonian migrant stranded in Libya here.
NWE, Video of a young Cameroonian migrant stranded in Libya, (30 January 2021), available at: https://www.instagram.com/tv/CKrE6B6I8z2/?igshid=17z68cm4b3dmt
Environmental Justice Foundation, Thailand's Seafood Slaves, (2015), available at: https://ejfoundation.org/reports/thailands-seafood-slaves
Food Ethics Council, Thailand’s Seafood Slaves, (5 June 2016) available at: https://www.foodethicscouncil.org/thailands-seafood-slaves/
United Nations, International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, available at: https://www.un.org/en/events/slaveryremembranceday/background.shtml
BBC, Implications of the slave trade for African societies, available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/guides/zxt3gk7/revision/7
Geneva International Centre for Justice, International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade - March 25, (2020), available at: https://www.gicj.org/positions-opinons/gicj-positions-and-opinions/1782-international-day-of-remembrance-of-the-victims-of-slavery-and-the-transatlantic-slave-trade-march-25
Anti-Slavery International, What is modern slavery?, available at: https://www.antislavery.org/slavery-today/modern-slavery/
International Labour Organization (ILO), 40 million in modern slavery and 152 million in child labour around the world, (19 September 2017), available at: https://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/newsroom/news/WCMS_574717/lang--en/index.htm
Global Research, Nearly 200 Million People Are “Modern Slaves” or Child Laborers, (21 November 2017), available at: https://www.globalresearch.ca/nearly-200-million-people-are-modern-slaves-or-child-laborers/5619242
Hürriyet Daily News, 29 million girls, women victims of modern slavery: Report, (10 October 2020), available at: https://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/report-29-million-girls-women-victims-of-modern-slavery-159015
Anadolu Agency, Cameroonian FM: 250 migrants repatriated from Libya, (22 November 2017), available at:https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/cameroonian-fm-250-migrants-repatriated-from-libya/974594#