Slavery and exploitation of human beings have no place in 21st century. Yet 21 million women, men and children are trapped in slavery, three out of every 1,000 people worldwide. 4.5 million are victims of sexual exploitation. Modern slavery is all around us, even though most of us do not even realise it.
Update (TFE editorial team 5/11/17): According to the new Global Estimates released at the UN General Assembly on 19 September, 40 million people were victims of modern slavery 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. 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.
It is also a huge business! According to a recent study by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), modern slavery generates annual illegal profits of over US$ 150 billion – the most lucrative and fastest-growing criminal activity after weapons and drugs. 90% of victims are exploited in the private economy, 44% of victims have migrated internally or across borders, and 95% of victims experience some form of violence.
The problem is, however, so huge and distressing that we may feel powerless and think that there is hardly any scope for an individual response. Is it really so? Or is there something we can do – in our everyday lives, in one or more of our multiple roles in society – as citizens, parents, friends, educators, customers, buyers, professionals, organisational leaders? This is the question on which we at Time For Equality wish to focus and the reason why we not only support the 50 For Freedom campaign, but we also created the Luxembourg for Freedom initiative.
In fact, during the last six months, Time for Equality took part in a number of events and initiatives supporting the fight against modern slavery and human trafficking. You may find here photos and information about Time for Equality’s stand at the 2017 Festival des migrations, des cultures et de la Citoyenneté in Luxembourg on 4-5 March, learn about our presence at the International Women’s Day 2017 at Neimenster in Luxembourg on 12 March here, as well as check our recent online action to raise awareness on modern slavery here on the occasion of Diversity Day.
50 For Freedom
In order to bring modern slavery to an end, people around the world are joining the 50 For Freedom campaign – a global alliance against modern forms of slavery – and calling on their governments to ratify the ILO’s Protocol to the Forced Labour Convention.
The Protocol is a legally-binding treaty – that complements the Forced Labour Convention of 1930. It requires governments to take new measures to tackle modern slavery in all its forms and works on three main levels: protection, prevention and compensation.
However, before it can have a real impact, it needs to be ratified by countries. So far, only 13 countries have ratified the Protocol, while the goal of 50 for Freedom is to persuade 50 states by 2018. You may find more information about the Protocol here.
Luxembourg For Freedom – get involved in your local community
While millions of children, women and men live in slavery-like conditions worldwide, modern slavery is also happening in Luxembourg, as highlighted in the first human trafficking report issued by the Consultative Commission on Human Rights (CCDH).
While 880 000 of people are affected by modern slavery all across the European Union, it is difficult to assess the extent of the phenomenon in Luxembourg, due to problems with the collection and evaluation of statistical data. The report stresses that the data received by the rapporteur were incomplete and did not allow relevant conclusions to be drawn.
Luxembourg For Freedom is a community-based campaign initiated by Time for Equality to support ILO’s 50ForFreedom movement to end human trafficking and modern slavery. The campaign was launched on the occasion of Diversity Day Letzebuerg 2017. We believe that the benefits of diversity will come from all sectors of society working together to build a sustainable inclusive society. It is through respect of human rights, dignity and freedom, that our society will realise the full potential of diversity.
With “Luxembourg For Freedom” we are asking from all members of our community to get involved by signing up to support www.50forfreedom.org and ask the Luxembourg government to ratify ILO’s Protocol on Forced Labour.
Film screening and panel discussion on 19 June 2017
To continue raising awareness of human trafficking and children’s rights, the United Nations and Time for Equality are pleased to present the screening of “Sold”, a film by Jeffrey D. Brown, followed by an interactive panel discussion. Click here to see the invitation.
The event will take place on 19 June from 19:00 at Cine Utopia and is hosted under the aegis of Ciné-ONU for the first time in the Grand Duchy. It will be held in English and is free of charge, however registration is required in order to facilitate the planning of the event (click here to register).
The film to be screened, “Sold” is a feature film adaptation of the globally acclaimed novel by Patricia McCormick. Based on true stories, “Sold” is the story of Lakshmi who journeys from a pastoral, rural village in Nepal to a gritty brothel/prison called ‘Happiness House’ in Kolkata, India. Through one extraordinary girl’s story, the film illustrates the brutality of child trafficking, which affects millions of children around the globe every year. Globally, the average age of a trafficked girl is thirteen, the same age as the girl in the film. “Sold” is a call to action, and a testament to the power and resilience of the human spirit. The film has English subtitles and the run time is 1 hour 34 minutes. You may watch the trailer here.
How can YOU help fight modern slavery? Learn, Share, Take Action
- Sign up to join the 50 for Freedom campaign.
- Ask at least two of your friends to sign up too.
- Visit www.stoptraite.lu
- Join future events hosted by Time For Equality within the Luxembourg For Freedom campaign.
Text by Roxana Mironescu
Journalist, digital communication professional and gender equality activitist, currently based in Luxembourg.
Photo: “Sold”, a film by Jeffrey D. Brown (www.soldthemovie.com)