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International Day for the Abolition of Slavery

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Authored by British Online Archives
Published on 2nd December, 2021 2 min read

International Day for the Abolition of Slavery

Arms are shown breaking free from handcuffs and the words "International Day for the Abolition of Slavery"

The 2nd December marks International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, it is a yearly event organised by the United Nations General Assembly. Slavery has existed in all societies across history, however, it has manifested itself differently. The most well-known form of historic slavery was the inhumane Transatlantic slave trade, in which millions of Africans were captured and enslaved for over 400 years.

Slavery is not just a thing of the past. 

The exploration into historical examples of slavery is often viewed from a pedestal and many forget that slavery continues to be an issue in the 21st century. The purpose of today is to raise awareness and help eradicate contemporary forms of slavery. Whilst traditional forms of slavery still do persist, modern slavery includes human trafficking, forced marriages, child labour, sexual exploitation and the recruitment of children in armed conflict.  

Modern slavery is thought to be underpinned by discrimination, poverty and global inequality. It is important to acknowledge that modern slavery is a global issue and happens in every country. According to the International Labour Organisation, more than 40 million people are victims of modern slavery, while 150 million children are victims to child labour.  

Today not only serves as a reminder of the brutality of the historic slave trade, but also a day to raise awareness of modern forms of slavery still affecting individuals worldwide. Therefore, International Day for the Abolition of Slavery is an important day to educate yourself, and help fight against contemporary forms of slavery.

Authored by British Online Archives

British Online Archives

British Online Archives provides unique collections of primary source documents for students and researchers studying the Humanities and Social Sciences.

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Notable Days


The British Online Archives Notable Days diary is a platform intended to mark key dates and events throughout the year. The posts draw attention to historical events and figures, as well as recurring cultural traditions and international awareness days, in both religious and secular contexts.

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