World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

Slavery, Though Legally Abolished, Is Widespread

Slavery, Though Legally Abolished, Remains Widespread In Current Forms, UN Reports

Slavery may have been legally abolished around the world, but it remains “a widespread and deeply rooted component of contemporary life,” ranging from human trafficking to child labour to sexual servitude to bonded service, according to the first-ever comparative analysis published by the United Nations.

“If slavery has been legally prohibited, but its more heinous characteristics have continued under a variety of different designations, or through numerous illicit activities, on what grounds can we say that slavery has effectively come to an end?” the report Entitled Unfinished Business, asks, calling for strengthened sanctions a΅d an end to impunity .

“If enslavement remains a fundamental issue in the absence of official recognition, on what grounds can we meaningfully distinguish chattel slavery from analogous forms of behaviour?”

Commissioned by the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Slave Route project and prepared by Joel Quirk of the Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation in the United Kingdom, the survey aims to provide the basis for dialogue on how to address contemporary slavery and the enduring legacies of historical slave systems.

It cites human trafficking as an example of the need to strengthen sanctions. “Throughout the twentieth century, trafficking was rarely treated as a specific offence, but would instead be covered indirectly as part of more general injunctions dealing with issues such as prostitution or kidnapping,” it says, noting that over the last decade, many countries have introduced anti-trafficking legislation, making it easier, at least on paper to pursue successful prosecutions.

“This trend needs to be expanded, particularly when it comes to labour exploitation, where penalties can be surprisingly lenient, notwithstanding the seriousness of the offences involved,” it adds, giving as a “notable example” bonded labour in the Indian subcontinent, where masters can usually expect, at worst, modest fines for kῥeping people in bondage.

“Laws against slavery and servitude need to be clear, comprehensive and contain appropriate penalties for abuses which amount to crimes against humanity under international law.”

The report calls for effective enforcement of laws. “Throughout history, there have been few (if any) serious repercussions for even the most heinous, systematic abuses,” it states. “This is largely a testament to widespread government involvement. Most historical abuses have taken place because of, rather than in spite of, official endeavours. This pervasive lack of accountabilityᾠhas continued to this day.

“Bonded labourers on the Indian subcontinent have been freed, slaves and ex-slaves in Mauritania have fostered new opportunities, victims of trafficking have found refuge, yet their former masters have rarely been prosecuted. This widespread impunity ensures that masters in many jurisdictions have little fear of serious penalties ῦor their predatory behaviour, it adds.

The launch of the 139-page survey coincides with the International Film Festival against Exclusion and for Tolerance, held at UNESCO headquarters in Paris from 5 to 13 December.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 



UN: Visionary ‘Blue Transformation’ Strategy To Enhance Underwater Food Systems

Record levels of fisheries and aquaculture production are making a critical contribution to global food security, the UN Ocean Conference under way in Lisbon, Portugal, heard on Wednesday...
More>>
Abu Akleh Shooting: Fatal Shot Came From Israeli Forces, Says OHCHR
Israeli forces were behind the fatal shooting of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in the West Bank - not indiscriminate Palestinian firing - the UN human rights office, OHCHR, alleged on Friday... More>>


Ethiopia: Conflict, Drought, Dwindling Food Support, Threatens Lives Of 20 Million

Hunger is tightening its grip on more than 20 million Ethiopians who are facing conflict in the north, drought in the south and dwindling food and nutrition support beginning next month, the UN food relief agency warned on Thursday... More>>


UN Ocean Conference: Opens With Call For Urgent Action To Tackle Ocean Emergency
With climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution exacting a devastating toll on the world’s ocean — critical to food security, economic growth and the environment... More>>

World Vision: Deeply Concerned For Thousands Affected By Afghanistan Quake
World Vision is deeply concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Afghanistan in the wake of a powerful earthquake in the early hours of this morning... More>>



Malaysia: UN Experts Welcome Announcement To Abolish Mandatory Death Penalty

UN human rights experts* today commended an announcement made by the Malaysian government that it will abolish the country’s mandatory death penalty and encouraged Parliament to take concrete steps to pass the agreement into law... More>>