International Day For The Abolition Of Slavery

Observed annually on December 2nd, International Day for the Abolition of Slavery is dedicated to raising awareness about the 40 million people around the world who are still victims of slavery.

Although modern slavery hasn’t been codified directly into law, it is an umbrella term that not only covers forced labor but also includes debt bondage, human trafficking, and forced marriages. If everyone marks this day on their calendar, we can all work towards eliminating slavery in all its forms throughout the world.

The History of International Day for the Abolition of Slavery

The observance of this day can be traced back to December 2, 1949, when the Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others was approved by the UN General Assembly.

Initially, this day started as a way to commemorate this convention. It wouldn’t become an official holiday until 2002 when the General Assembly proclaimed 2004 to be the International Year to Commemorate the Struggle against Slavery and its Abolition.

Facts About Modern Slavery

As everyone works on observing this holiday and helping to end the practice of slavery, it’s important to know some of the facts that relate to modern slavery. That’s why we’ve decided to put together some facts about slavery that we think will be educational for everyone.

Modern Slavery Isn’t All About Sex Trafficking

Even though sex trafficking is a serious problem in the world, it doesn’t account for the majority of slavery in the world. In reality, forced labor is more common than sex trafficking, making up approximately 65% of the cases.

14 Million Slaves Are in India

It’s been estimated that more than half of the world’s slaves are found in India. That’s approximately 14 million people who are in forced labor. Many of these slaves are “debt slaves.” That means they are working to pay off a debt. Sometimes that debt doesn’t even belong to them but to their parents or grandparents.

Slavery Is More Rampant Than Ever Before

There are 40 million slaves in the world today. That’s more than there were during the 19th century. During the 19th century, it’s estimated that there were approximately 7 million enslaved people imported to the New World.

Modern Slaves Are Considered “Disposable” by Traffickers

In 1850, the average slave cost the equivalent of $40,000 in today’s money. Now contrast that with the average cost of slaves today. By most estimates, modern slaves can be bought for approximately $90. Since they’re so inexpensive, they are considered disposable by traffickers. That means that sick or injured slaves are simply discarded or even killed.

Observing International Day for the Abolition of Slavery

The primary way to observe this holiday is to take time out of your day and spread the word about the problem of slavery in the world. You can organize an event, spread the word in your community, or use the hashtag #InternationalDayForTheAbolitionOfSlavery on your social media accounts. You can also donate time or money to organizations that are working to end slavery in the world.

When is it?
This year (2024)
December 2 Monday
Next year (2025)
December 2 Tuesday
Last year (2023)
December 2 Saturday
Awareness & Cause, United Nations