Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Assistance at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement on the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery on 2 December:
Officially, slavery has been abolished worldwide, but unfortunately often only on paper, as modern forms of slavery, such as political imprisonment, forced prostitution, the recruitment of child soldiers, child labour and the traditional forms of bonded labour and economic exploitation still exist all over the world.
Everyone has the right to live in freedom and without oppression! The International Day for the Abolition of Slavery calls on us all to speak up on behalf of all those who are victims of exploitation and cannot defend themselves and to work together at the international level to ensure that modern forms of slavery are abolished. This applies equally to governments and companies, which must ensure that they adhere to human rights due diligence along their supply chains.
The International Day for the Abolition of Slavery launched by the United Nations marks the date of the adoption, in 1949, of the United Nations Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others. According to estimates by the International Labour Organization (ILO), approximately 21 million people are exploited as forced labourers each year, the vast majority of them in households and the private sector. Every year, an estimated 150 billion US dollars are generated by forced labour through sexual exploitation in the sex industry and the exploitation of workers, primarily in domestic work, agriculture, construction and mining.