“When it comes to modern slavery, we have to fight to change minds, policies, laws, regulations and, most of all, to change hearts. Many ordinary people don’t even know slavery still exists, and yet, right now, 25 million around the world are victims of this terrible practice, which accounts for over US$150 billion dollars in illegal profits every year.
Abused, exploited, trapped, they’re working in fields, on fishing boats, in mines and as domestic workers, maybe in the house next door to you. We’re also talking about human trafficking, another related scourge of our society.
And what fuels this evil underground economy, is mainly one thing: poverty.
No one who has a choice gets trapped in modern slavery. No man, woman or child chooses to work being insulted, beaten, threatened and abused. Poverty and desperation lead to it.
One thing I’ve learned is that the very first step to fighting against this practice, is calling it by its name: slavery. I have no doubt that the most important weapon we all have is information. We need to use it to fight against those who sustain this monstrous practice. No one says out loud that they support slavery… they speak in the shadows.
There’s a new international treaty that requires countries to protect victims and help them access justice – the Forced Labour Protocol. The International Labour Organization’s 50 for Freedom campaign aims to persuade at least 50 countries to ratify this Protocol by the end of 2018.
It’s our duty, not only to sign up to the campaign, but also to reach out to governments, NGO leaders, opinion makers, legislators, company executives, heads of states, your school, your neighbours. I strongly encourage you to do so. Share the facts about modern slavery and show everyone the multiple forms of this gigantic scar on the civilized world. I am deeply committed to doing all I can to accomplish it. Please join us in supporting the 50 for Freedom campaign in whatever capacity you can and let’s eradicate this shameful practice once and for all.”