In Geneva, a UN panel has opened a four day meeting on slavery around the world. The United Nations Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery is marking its 30th anniversary Monday. But a human rights organization says the UN group’s mandate and resources need to be strengthened.
Mike Kaye is a spokesman for Anti-Slavery International, which calls itself the world’s oldest international human rights organization. From London, Mr. Kaye spoke to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua about what message his organization is sending to UN officials.
He says, “Anti-Slavery International is sending the message that today contemporary forms of slavery are just as bad as they were 30 years ago when the group started its work. We’ve recently seen a report from the International Labor organization where they say the minimum estimate of the number of people in forced labor is 12.3 million people. Given that that is a conservative estimate, it’s a very worrying indicator of how widespread slavery issues are today. And the thing to stress is that it’s covering all continents in the world. It’s not isolated just in developing countries. Developed and developing countries have this problem. The strong message we want to give is that there needs to be a greater commitment towards tackling contemporary forms of slavery from all governments around the world.”
Anti-Slavery International says slavery takes many forms, including abductions and forced labor, child domestic slavery, child trafficking to the Persian Gulf, forced labor in Brazil, slavery in west and southern Africa and trafficking of women from North Korea.