Remembering the victims of slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade
25 March 2012
Today marks the fifth International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.
What is the day of remembrance?
Poster for International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, (2012) www.un.org/.../poster.jpg
In commemoration of the memory of those victimized, the General Assembly, in its resolution 62/122 of 17 December 2007, declared 25 March the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade observed annually.
The tragic transatlantic slave trade, which marked one of the darkest chapters in human history, lasted for 400 years, despite a spirited resistance by the millions of enslaved peoples.
The transatlantic slave trade, often known as the triangular trade, connected the economies of three continents. It is estimated that between 15 to 20 million people, men, women and children, were deported from their homes and sold as slaves in the different slave trading systems.
The yearly remembrance serves not only as an opportunity to reflect on those that suffered and perished at the hands of slavery, but also as an occasion to raise awareness to the world's youth about the dangers of racism and prejudice.
Theme 2012: Honouring the Heroes, Resisters and Survivors
This year's theme of "Honouring the Heroes, Resisters and Survivors" of the Transatlantic Slave Trade aims to pay tribute to the brave men and women who valiantly fought against the inhumane practices of slavery.
Zumbi dos Palmares, Harriet Tubman and an anonymous slave (shown in the poster above), like so many others who struggled for freedom, represent the theme of this year's International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. There are many more heroes who will be honoured during the commemoration.
The modern fight against trafficking in persons
Nowadays, trafficking in persons is among the fastest growing criminal activities worldwide. According to ILO estimates, the minimum number of persons in forced labour, including sexual exploitation, at any given time as a result of human trafficking is 2.45 million.
Human trafficking preys on women, children and men; it feeds off common hopes, and people's aspirations for a better life.
The exploitative purposes of human trafficking are diverse and evolving. They include: forced prostitution, forced labour, begging, forced marriages, domestic servitude or the removal of organs.
The most recent global instrument to address this crime is the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, which entered in force on 25 December 2003. The Trafficking in Persons Protocol for the first time provided a universally agreed upon definition of trafficking in persons. It addresses human trafficking as a crime, including all forms of exploitation and all types of victims, seeking to ensure the criminal justice action against human traffickers, and the provision of assistance and support to those they would victimize. The Trafficking in Persons Protocol commits ratifying States to combating trafficking in persons, prosecuting perpetrators, protecting and assisting victims of trafficking and to cooperate with other states to meet those objectives. To date, 147 countries are party to the Trafficking Protocol.
Support to Victims of Trafficking in Persons: the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Human Trafficking
In July 2010, the General Assembly adopted a Global Plan of Action to combat Trafficking in Persons. As part of the plan, a United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children was established and is managed by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
The Trust Fund supports the timely provision on the ground of humanitarian, legal and financial aid to victims of trafficking through a range of avenues and provides the opportunity for people from all walks of life to contribute in a meaningful manner to assist victims of human trafficking to reclaim their lives and rebuild their futures. For information on how you can support the Trust Fund find more details here .
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