UN Secretary-General's Message on International Day for the Abolition of Slavery

02 Dec 2013

This year’s International Day for the Abolition of Slavery comes as the international community is intensifying efforts to eradicate poverty and forge a post-2015 development agenda.  In pursuing these goals, it is vital that we give special consideration to ending modern-day slavery and servitude which affects the poorest, most socially excluded groups – including migrants, women, discriminated ethnic groups, minorities and indigenous peoples.

There has been important progress in the last year.  A number of countries have acted to combat slavery through stronger domestic legislation and greater coordination.  More and more businesses are working to ensure their activities do not cause or contribute to contemporary forms of slavery in the workplace and their supply chains.

I strongly support these initiatives and urge all Member States to ratify the Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, develop robust and effective domestic legislation and boost enforcement on the ground.  The partnership of the private sector in implementing these efforts is critical.

Civil society continues to play a major role in assisting victims, often with the support of the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery.  For more than 20 years, the Fund has helped restore human rights and dignity to tens of thousands of children, women and men.  I urge continued support for this vital initiative.

As we mark the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, let us join forces to make our world slavery-free.