Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Slavery perpetuated by global economic crisis

Slavery perpetuated by global economic crisis

Slavery perpetuated by global economic crisis

Dear Editor,

The slave trade was formally abolished 200 years ago, but this flagrant human rights violation persists, fuelled by a continuing lack of respect for the dignity of human beings, a denial of their humanity and desperate poverty.

Despite centuries of prohibition against slavery, traditional forms still exist.  We have also seen a disturbing emergence of contemporary forms of slavery, such as the sale of children, debt bondage and human trafficking. Domestic and migrant workers are often kept as de facto slaves, as are people working in construction, catering, garment production and other industries.

The global economic crisis could exacerbate this already alarming situation. Poor people are likely to be driven further into poverty, making them more vulnerable to slavery-like practices. Those who consciously exploit them will have to extract even more to make a profit, and consumers, who may not be aware of the consequences, will be more likely to purchase products whose labour costs are kept unreasonably

low.

The United Nations World Conference against Racism, held in 2001, broke new ground by declaring that slavery was and is a crime against humanity.

There are now an estimated 27 million victims of this atrocity, and we must reach out to help them.

Governments, civil society organizations, businesses and individuals must join forces to protect victims, raise awareness and demand an end to all forms of slavery and exploitation. We need new strategies to deal with this old curse. We need to change laws, and we need to alter attitudes and customs.

On December 10, the world celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Together, we must ensure that one of its most fundamental tenets - that "no one shall be held in slavery or servitude" - will soon ring true.

Ban Ki-moon

United Nations secretary general

Send letters to: [email protected] or P.O. Box 146, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The Post reserves the right to edit letters to a shorter length.

MOST VIEWED

  • Guards protest dismissals, reject claims of sharing naked photos of child

    Some 20 former security guards at the US Embassy in Phnom Penh protested on Tuesday against their dismissal. They accused their employers of falsely claiming they had viewed and shared child pornography from their mobile phones as grounds for their termination. In total, 32 personnel were dismissed

  • We’re going to Wisney World!

    More than 6,000 mostly Chinese attendees witnessed the inauguration ceremony of a $1 billion Sihanoukville resort project called Wisney World in the capital on Wednesday. The event on Koh Pich, attended by several senior Cambodian government officials, is a joint venture between China’s AMC International and

  • Funcinpec urges probe into deadly Preah Sihanouk accident

    THE Funcinpec party has urged the government, especially the Ministry of Interior, to investigate the traffic accident in Preah Sihanouk province which left Prince Norodom Ranariddh badly injured and his wife Ouk Phalla dead. Funcinpec Vice President You Hokry told reporters at Botum Votey pagoda,

  • Gov’t continues China tilt as ties with the US slide on ‘interference’ in Kingdom’s internal affairs

    CHINA has granted some $131 million in aid to the Cambodian military. It comes as yet another sign that the Kingdom is strengthening strategic ties with its Asian neighbour to counter increasingly cold relations with the United States. The aid was announced as part of a