UN action strengthens the fight to end slavery

2 October 2007

The appointment of a United Nations Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery on 28 September marks an historic step forward in the fight against all forms of slavery.

The appointment is a clear acknowledgement of the urgent need for international action to tackle slavery which affects at least 12 million men, women and children worldwide. People in slavery are forced to work through coercion, deception or the threat or use of violence. They are denied freedom, dehumanised, treated as property or bought and sold. Even though slavery is illegal under international law, no region is free from this abuse and slavery is found in every region and most countries.

“The fact that the United Nations has empowered a Special Rapporteur to investigate all slavery practices around the world and make recommendations to governments on action they should take to eradicate these practices, marks an important first. Anti-Slavery International commends the United Nations for putting greater priority on combating slavery and the United Kingdom Government for tabling this resolution.

“It is now vital that all governments around the world respond to this initiative by extending an open invitation to the UN Special Rapporteur to visit their countries and by providing the Rapporteur with their full co-operation as they carry out their mandate. Governments should also ratify and fully implement all international standards against slavery as a matter of priority,” Aidan McQuade Director of Anti-Slavery International said.

Over 42,900 people worldwide have supported Anti-Slavery International’s call for stronger international mechanisms to identify and resolve instances of slavery by signing the Fight for Freedom Declaration.



  • Anti-Slavery International is the world’s oldest human rights organisation and campaigns for the eradication of slavery, exposing current cases, supporting local organisations to release the minimum 12.3 million people in slavery, and the implementation of international laws against slavery. For further information please contact Paul Donohoe, Anti-Slavery International’s Press Officer, on 020 7501 8934 or email p.donohoe@antislavery.org