United Nations human rights experts have called for effective steps to end abuse and exploitation of children as ‘modern-day slaves’.
Chairman of UN Voluntary Fund on Contemporary Form of Slavery, Nevena Vučković-Šahović, and UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery, Urmila Bhoola, came up with the call in a joint statement issued on the occasion of the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery to be observed on December 2,
Slavery's devastating effects must be fought by steps including rehabilitation and better education, and by making sure children know about their rights, said the statement.
Citing the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the two experts noted that almost 21 million people are victims of forced labour, the closest estimate available to them of those impacted by contemporary forms of slavery.
"In our work, we invariably see that children are particularly vulnerable to contemporary forms of slavery, including the worst forms of child labour, forced child marriage, child domestic servitude and instances of girls being forced into sexual slavery," they said.
This situation persists even though it is 90 years since the adoption of the Slavery Convention and 50 years since the development of its Supplementary Protocol.
"As we stop and reflect on this commemorative year, the abuse and exploitation of child victims of slavery cannot continue to be tolerated," the experts mentioned in their statement.
Target 8.7 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals calls on the global community to 'take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms.
"As we move towards the implementation of Target 8.7, we must ensure that specific attention is given to protecting the child victims of contemporary slavery," added the statement, according to a news agency.