Modern slavery and the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and of its Abolition

German colonial lord with his slaves around 1885
German colonial lord with his slaves around 1885 | Source

The 23rd of August is a very important day for humanity, as this is the official International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and of its Abolition - although in fact I guess barely anyone knows what does this really mean.

Slavery in history

The question of slavery has always been a huge problem in our history. Slavery is the system, in which people were treated as a property and could have been sold and bought freely. Additionally, these slaves were forced to work - most of the time in terrible conditions, without any break all day long - and were not allowed to leave or to demand any compensation for their work.

This issue in fact precedes written data and has its origins in many cultures. The first signs were discovered even in Egypt, from 8000 B.C. - so slavery exists for more than 10,000 years now. I am aware that nowadays this problem seems outdated, but we have to be aware, it is still a real problem in these modern times, too.

A painting by Jean-Baptiste Debret from around 1820-30 about a slave hunter and the indians he captured
A painting by Jean-Baptiste Debret from around 1820-30 about a slave hunter and the indians he captured | Source

August 23, 1791

August 23 was proclaimed to be the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and of its Abolition by the United Nations in 1998, to remind humanity for the uprisings and major events of 1791 during the Haitian Revolution, which had a huge effect on the world later to successfully abolish slavery.

As I already mentioned, 1791 is a very important date in the fight against slavery - this is the year when an uprising took place in Santo Domingo (present-day Dominican Republic and Haiti) during the night of 22 to 23 of August. In this revolution more than 100,000 slaves were fighting for their rights and they managed to join forces with the British army to take over the island. France, to prevent a military disaster decided to free the slaves and later, in 1794 abolished slavery in the country and on all of its colonies. Sadly, more problems occurred on the island later and the fights continued, but this event is considered to be the start of fights against slavery ever since.

A painting by January Suchodolski about the Battle of Santo Domingo from 1845
A painting by January Suchodolski about the Battle of Santo Domingo from 1845 | Source

Modern slavery

According to recent surveys by the International Labour Organization (ILO), there are still more than 21 million people on the world, who are the victims of forced labour. This means that nowadays, three out of 1000 people live as a slave. Most of these (56%) people live in Asia and the Pacific regions, followed by Africa (18%) and Latin-America+Caribbean (9%). Meanwhile the least slaves are present in the Middle East and in developed economies like the countries of the European Union.

The following graphs about these data are available for the public on the ILO webpage:

Figures from the most recent ILO reports:

Typology of forced labour by form
Typology of forced labour by form | Source
Global estimate by age group of victims of forced labour
Global estimate by age group of victims of forced labour | Source
Global estimate by form of forced labour
Global estimate by form of forced labour | Source
Global estimate by sex victims of forced labour
Global estimate by sex victims of forced labour | Source

Modern slavery is a huge problem in our present day society and it is predicted to become an even bigger criminal industry than drug trafficking in the future.

According to a very interesting book about modern slavery (A Crime so Monstrous: Face-to-Face with Modern-Day Slavery by E. Benjamin Skinner ), some data about slavery in the USA from 2009:

  • A slave is imported to the US every 30 minutes.
  • The average cost of a slave is 90 USD.
  • 50% of slaves work in agriculture, domestic work or manufacturing.
  • 50% of slaves are engaged in the commercial sex industry.


Be responsible

Please report to the authorities if you think that anyone in your neighbourhood is kept as a slave and/or is forced to work. We should be responsible for each other and contribute to a better world!

Thank you for reading my article, I hope I could provide you, fellow readers with some useful new information.

Modern slavery: Child slaves

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© Copyright 2012-2014, Zsofia Koszegi-Nagy (zsobig)

© 2012 Sophie

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Comments on topic 6 comments

zsobig profile image

zsobig 4 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Thank you guys, I'm happy I was able to share something that shall interest everybody, as it does concern everyone in my opinion. And not just our past, but still our present and I guess - future.


Deepak Chaturvedi profile image

Deepak Chaturvedi 4 years ago from New Delhi, India

You have chosen a touching subject it shows your talent and also social concern.


Deepak Chaturvedi profile image

Deepak Chaturvedi 4 years ago from New Delhi, India

You have chosen the right topic.thanks for sharing your hub.


Lightshare profile image

Lightshare 4 years ago

Oh! what a world it was..!!


Mama Kim 8 profile image

Mama Kim 8 4 years ago

Thank you for bringing this to attention! Very well written and important. Voted up and shared ^_^


billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

You just won a big fan with this hub! I have written a couple hubs about sex slavery in the United States....I am appalled by it and I want action....this sort of thing simply cannot happen in a civilized society. Thank you for writing about this important topic.

bill

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