UN Report on contemporary forms of slavery
Polity & Governance
27th Aug, 2022
A recent U.N. report which highlighted contemporary forms of slavery, pointed out that Child labour, caste-based discrimination and poverty are closely inter-linked in India.
- Article 4 of the UDHR states that ‘No one shall be held in slavery or servitude: slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms’.
- Slavery was the first human rights issue to arouse wide international concern yet it still continues today and slavery-like practices also remain a grave and persistent problem.
Contemporary forms of slavery
- traditional slavery
- forced labour
- debt bondage
- children working in slavery or slavery-like conditions
- domestic servitude
- sexual slavery
- servile forms of marriage
- Contemporary forms of slavery are widely practiced around the world, including:
- forced labour for China’s Uyghur minority
- bonded labour for the lowest caste Dalits in South Asia
- domestic servitude in Gulf countries, Brazil and Colombia
- Main causes of contemporary forms of slavery
- Deep-rooted intersecting forms of discrimination,
- Result of historical legacies, such as
- slavery and colonisation
- systems of inherited status
- formalised and State-sponsored discrimination
- Child Labour:
- Child labour (among children 5 to 17 years of age), including its worst forms, exists in all regions of the world.
- In Asia and the Pacific, the Middle East, the Americas and Europe, between 4% and 6% of children are said to be in child labour, and the percentage is much higher in Africa (21.6%), with the highest rate in sub-Saharan Africa (23.9%).
- In India, child labour, caste-based discrimination and poverty are closely interlinked.
- Dalits in South Asia:
- Dalit women in South Asia face severe discrimination, and as a result they are systematically denied choices and freedoms in all spheres of life.
- Manual scavenging, predominantly carried out by Dalit women, is widely regarded as forced labour and a contemporary form of slavery, entailing harsh working conditions that have a negative impact on mental and physical health.
- Dalits in Bangladesh are forced to undertake certain types of labour as a consequence of their assigned caste status and are almost exclusively working in “unclean” jobs in urban areas, like street sweeping and burying the dead.
- Forced marriage:
- Forced marriage of women and girls is a concern in Asia, including Cambodia, India, Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam.
- In parts of the Balkans, half of all Roma women ages 20 to 24 are married before age 18, compared to around 10% nationally.