“In this crucial year for global development, as Member States work to craft a post-2015 agenda and a new set of sustainable development goals, let us do our utmost to eradicate all forms of human exploitation. Let us strive to build a world of social justice where all people can live and work in freedom, dignity and equality.”
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
World Day of Social Justice 2015 Theme: Ending human trafficking and forced labour
Today marks ‘World Day of Social Justice’, which emphasises the underlying principle for peaceful and prosperous co-existence within and among nations.
The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 20 February as World Day of Social Justice in 2007, inviting Member States to devote the day to promoting efforts to help eradicate poverty, promote full employment and decent work, gender equity, and access to social well-being and justice for all.
This year’s theme focuses on the issue of human trafficking and forced labour.
According to UN’s International Labour Organization (ILO), forced labour’s external link takes different forms, including debt bondage, trafficking and other forms of modern slavery and efforts need to be mounted to check these human rights violation.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon released a statement yesterday (19/2) calling for a worldwide end to all forms of human exploitation and the cumulative effort to “not leave behind those who are socially and economically exploited.”
“This year’s commemoration focuses on the scourge of human trafficking and the plight of approximately 21 million women, men and children in various forms of modern slavery,” Ban Ki-moon said.
“New instruments such as the ILO Protocol and Recommendation on forced labour and human trafficking are helping to strengthen global efforts to punish perpetrators and end impunity. We must continue to do more. We simply cannot achieve development for all if we leave behind those who are socially and economically exploited.”
In his message commemorating the Day, ILO Director-General Juan Somavia said: “It is time to build a new era of social justice on a foundation of decent work.
“Recent events flashing across the world’s television screens have brought into sharp focus demands that have been brewing in the hearts of people: the desire for a decent life and a decent future based on social justice.
“The fault lines of the global economy, apparent for a long time, are cracking open to reveal uncertainty and vulnerability, sentiments of exclusion and oppression and a lack of opportunities and jobs, made more painful by the global economic crisis.
“Women and men without jobs or livelihoods really don’t care if their economies grow at 3, 5 or 10 percent per year if such growth leaves them behind and without protection. They do care whether their leaders and their societies promote policies to provide jobs and justice, bread and dignity, freedom to voice their needs, their hopes and their dreams and the space to forge practical solutions where they are not always squeezed.
“The reality is that people commonly judge whether society, the economy and the polity are working for them through the prism of work. Whether they have a job, or not, the quality of life it permits, what happens when they have no work or cannot work. In so many ways the quality of work defines the quality of society.
“Yet the world of work is in tatters today: more than 200 million people are unemployed worldwide, including nearly 80 million youth, both figures are at or near their highest points ever. What is more, the number of workers in vulnerable employment – 1.5 billion – and the 630 million working poor living with their families at US$ 1.25 a day or less is increasing.
“At the same time, global inequalities are growing. The crisis has cut wage growth in half, reduced social mobility through work and trapped more and more people in low-paid jobs. Income gaps are growing in some countries. Youth face the increasing likelihood of never finding a decent job – the prospect of a lost generation looms. And the middle class often finds itself in the middle of nothing and going into reverse.
“Achieving a fair globalization calls for a new vision of society and economy, with a balanced approach to the role of state, markets and society and a clear understanding of the possibilities and limitations of individual action in that framework. Action must go beyond simply recovering growth – we will not get out of the crisis with the same policies that led to it.
“We need to move toward a new era of social justice,” he stressed.
Read the full statement here.
Facts About Human Trafficking in Australia:
-In 2009 there were only four convictions of sex traffickers and two of labour traffickers. In 1998, Child Wise (ECPAT Australia) established that over 3700 children were known to be working in prostitution throughout Australia.
-The average age of entry into prostitution in developed, English speaking countries is 13 years old. This figure is vastly underestimated given the hidden nature of this abuse and increasing use of online media to exploit underage persons.
-Common experiences of people trafficked to Australia include poor working conditions, providing labour without pay, being forced to live in the workplace, sexual abuse, physical and verbal abuse, threats to family members, restricted freedom, confiscation of travel and legal documents.
-The majority of trafficked people to Australia have tended to enter Australia legally on tourist, student or work visas, but have ended up in situations of exploitation akin to debt bondage or forced labour.
-Australia is considered a destination country for women from South East Asia, South Korea, The People’s Republic of China and Eastern Europe for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Since 2004, over 170 suspected victims of trafficking have received support from the Commonwealth Government’s Support Program for Victims of Trafficking.
-To date most trafficking victims have been identified in Sydney or Melbourne but can and does occur Australia wide.