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Annan urges steps to combat contemporary forms of slavery

Annan urges steps to combat contemporary forms of slavery

Marking the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today called for stepped-up measures to end the practice and to address the entrenched poverty which leaves people vulnerable to enslavement.

“Contemporary forms of slavery – from bonded labour to human trafficking – are flourishing as a result of discrimination, social exclusion, and vulnerability exacerbated by poverty,” the Secretary-General said in a message on the observance.

He noted that the movement against slavery was the first campaign to bring together the international community in the struggle against gross human rights violations. “Today, we must carry on the struggle.”

Mr. Annan called on States to ratify international instruments against slavery, and to cooperate fully with all relevant international human rights mechanisms. “I implore them to step up measures to eliminate the entrenched poverty which continues to render our fellow human beings vulnerable to enslavement,” he said.

“And I encourage people everywhere to hold their Governments accountable.”