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International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition
by The Ovi Team
2020-08-23 13:27:11
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“Oh the horrors of slavery! - How the thought of it pains my heart! But the truth ought to be told of it; and what my eyes have seen I think it is my duty to relate; for few people in England know what slavery is. I have been a slave - I have felt what a slave feels, and I know what a slave knows; and I would have all the good people in England know it too, that they may break our chains, and set us free…"  From Mary Prince Mary Prince, the first black woman to escape British slavery in the West Indies and publish an autobiography, 'The History of Mary Prince, A West Indian Slave, related by herself', 1831

The International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition is celebrated on 23 August of every year. The night of 22 to 23 August 1791, in Santo Domingo (today Haiti and the Dominican Republic) saw the beginning of the uprising that would play a crucial role in the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade. The International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition is intended to inscribe the tragedy of the transatlantic slave trade in the memory of all peoples.

For many people, slavery is just an old image that comes to mind when they hear the word. We think of the buying and selling of people, their shipment from one continent to another and the abolition of the trade in the early 1800s. Even if we know nothing about the slave trade, it is something that we think of as part of our history rather than our present. But slavery isn't just a thing of the past. Millions of women, children and men around the world are trapped in slavery, TODAY.

Officially slavery has been abolished. Today, under international law slavery is illegal. In practice, women from Eastern Europe are bonded into prostitution, children are trafficked between West African countries and men are forced to work as slaves on Brazilian agricultural estates. These people are enslaved because existing laws are not enforced.

Today a slave has one or more of the following characteristics: forced to work, through mental or physical threat owned or controlled by an 'employer', usually through mental or physical abuse or threatened abuse dehumanised, treated as a commodity or bought and sold as 'property' physically constrained or has restrictions placed on their freedom of movement.

The types of slavery today are:

Bonded labour: A person becomes bonded when their labour is demanded as means of repayment of a loan or money given in advance. World-wide, millions of bonded labourers are caught in a cycle of debt and forced to work in conditions that violate their human rights.

Trafficking: The movement of people from one place to another through force, coercion or deception in order to exploit them for their labour (in conditions of forced labour, slavery or sexual exploitation).

Forced labour: Any work that people are forced to do under threat of violence or other form of punishment.

Worst forms of child labour: Children are bonded, trafficked or forced to work as soldiers or domestic labourers, on plantations or in commercial sex work. Their physical vulnerability and lack of voice make children especially prone to danger in conditions which risk damaging their safety and psychological health. An estimated 80 million children are in the worst forms of child labour, with more still working full time at the expense of their education, leisure and personal and social development.

Early and forced marriage: Women and girls who are married without choice. They are forced into a life of servitude, often marked by physical violence.

Chattel slavery: Today people are still bought and sold as commodities. They are often abducted from their homes, inherited or given as gifts.


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Emanuel Paparella2009-08-23 11:52:43
I am afraid that despite our yearly commemorations, slavery will not disappear till we realize that it is a symptom of a larger spiritual malaise...; that it is possible to be in jail and remain free, and to be free and remain a slave to one's vices. It ought to at least be considered that the elimination of slavery ultimately may depend on whether or not each individual proceeds to one's own liberation from everything that destroyes one's spiritual freedom.

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