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The history of slavery has a saga of repression, indescribable cruelty and consequently the long-term and silent suffering that has spanned for decades and centuries that humanity has ever seen. Although it is difficult to pinpoint its origins, historians opine that this system began about 11,000 years ago.
A report by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) states that there are more than 40 million people across the world who are victims of modern slavery. This includes 25 million people in forced labour and 15 million in forced marriage.
Even though slavery is illegal across the globe, human trafficking is still an issue. The purpose of the International Day Of Abolition Of Slavery is to bring modern slavery under the limelight and eradicate the contemporary forms of slavery. Modern slavery includes child labour, human trafficking and forced labour. Also, the day encourages one to know about their rights and regulations in terms of correct working practices. Read on to know more.
International Day Of Abolition Of Slavery 2022: Date
The International Day for the Abolition of Slavery is observed on 2 December every year and it marks the date of the adoption, by the United Nations Convention for the Suppression of slavery. The theme of the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade this year is "Stories of Courage: Resistance to Slavery and Unity against Racism".
The transatlantic slave trade is often studied and discussed at the macro level. It was a phenomenon characterized by unprecedented mass human trafficking, degrading economic transactions and unspeakable human rights violations. But, when the issue was examined on a micro level, it relieved the actual brutality hidden behind the facts and figures of millions of human stories. While some have been ripped from their homelands and families, others are struggling to survive and fight against their oppressors. There are also inspiring stories of people who have managed to win their freedom against all odds, mentioning the official website of the UN. Those stories continue today as people across the globe keep struggling together against the transatlantic slave trade's most enduring legacy - racism, it adds.
International Day Of Abolition Of Slavery 2022: History
The birthplace of slave civilization began in Sumer or Sumeria which slowly spread into Greece and other parts of Mesopotamia but not in the countries of India and China. Slavery in ancient times was considered as a punishment for unpaid debts, birth into a slave family, child abandonment, or as punishment for crime. However, the lives of the slaves were better than the peasants of those times as they were provided with all basic comforts such as food and shelter. Hence, they did not run away from the system to find a new independent life for themselves.
Middle Ages were also a witness to Islamic invasions of India, which resulted in the enslavement of thousands of Indians. The records show that in the year war of 1001, Mahmud Ghazni conquered Peshawar, during which roughly 100,000 children and youth were taken in captivity for their sole usage.
By signing emancipation proclamation, president Lincoln changed the deplorable status of the slaves to freedom and independence from the clutches of their masters. There are forms of slavery that still demand from people some work against their will could be anything, ranging from prostitution, physical bondage, forced labour, human trafficking, debt bondage or simply being born into slavery. Poverty and globalisation are the root causes of modern slavery due to which slavery thrives even today.
International Day Of Abolition Of Slavery 2022: Significance
Slavery played a crucial role in the economy as it provided the labour, required to develop the new world. They also produced sugar, tobacco, coffee, cocoa, and later cotton and also played a role in shipping, manufacturing and gun making.
Since during capitalist development, the capitalists found it difficult to pay wages. Immersed in chronic debt, the new world planters invested their spare currency into slave labour. Mining and agriculture proved to be the most profitable sources of income as it was helped by slave labour to a large extent.
Slavery helped commercial capitalism in the colonies grow by leaps and bounds. In West Indies, they created a huge market meant for American fish, oats, corn, flour, lumber, peas, beans, and horses. The distilled molasses produced by slaves were converted by the French and Dutch West Indies into rum.