Sleepless in Luxembourg

Sleepless in Luxembourg

The mosquito buzzing in the room is so tiny, so why is it so hard to fall asleep? Perhaps it is not time to sleep. The fact that as a society we have millions of women, men, children trafficked, exploited and trapped in slavery around the world is intolerable and unacceptable.

The new Global Estimates  (1) released at the UN General Assembly on 19 September have revealed the shocking scale of modern slavery worldwide: 40 million people were victims in 2016, among them about 25 million were in forced labour, 15 million in forced marriage. 152 million children, between 5 and 17 years old, were subject to child labour.

Data show clearly that women and girls are the most affected, they represent 29 million, 71 % of the total. Women represent 99 % of the victims of forced labour in the commercial sex industry and 84 % of forced marriages. With US$ 150 billion illegal profits, human trafficking is the most lucrative and fastest growing criminal activity after weapons and drugs. Current migrant patterns represent an increasing risk for trafficking, exploitation and abuse of people in vulnerable situations, in particular children, “unaccompanied minors”.

We are all concerned. Although illegal in nearly every country, modern slavery persists in every corner of the world, including the most advanced democracies. It also happens in Luxembourg, as disclosed in the recent report by the Commission consultative des droits de l’homme (CCDH), the national rapporteur on human trafficking.

Behind reports, statistics and data there are real people, like you and us, individual lives that deserve to be lived in dignity and freedom, stories to be shared. We cannot look away.

What can you do?

Join Luxembourg For Freedom, a community-based campaign launched by Time For Equality. We support 50 for Freedom an international movement to persuade countries to ratify the International Labour Organisation’s Protocol on Forced Labour by 2018. The Protocol is a legally binding treaty that will require governments to take new and more effective measures tackling modern slavery in all its forms. To show your support for the Luxembourg government to ratify – sign up now 50forfreedom.org.

Learn and share information to increase awareness

You can read the CCDH report,  visit www.stoptraite.lu, www.childprotection.lu, www.ecpat.lu and others; follow our initiatives at www.timeforequality.org

Slavery and exploitation of human beings have no place in the 21st century. We all have a role to play to end this – business, government, civil society, every one of us. Our actions will make a difference, and if you think the problem is too big for us to have an impact just remember how hard it is to fall asleep with a mosquito in your room. It is time for equality, we must not let society sleep.

Rosa Brignone, founder and president – Karen Wauters, vice-president

Time For Equality is a non for profit association based in Luxembourg. Our objective is to make a difference both within and across borders through advocacy and awareness raising using the power of stories and the arts to reach individuals.

(1) Global estimates of modern slavery: forced labour and forced marriage, International Labour Organisation and Walk Free Foundation, Geneva 2017

Based on an article originally published on Delano magazine, 5 October 2017.

Photo courtesy of Giovanna Agnello

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