The International Day for Remembrance of Slave Trade and its Abolition is annually observed on August 23 to remind people globally of the tragedy of the transatlantic slave trade. It gives people a chance to think about the historic causes, the methods, and the consequences of the slave trade.
Nigeria has a history of slavery which is now illegal both within and outside the country. However, certain traditions and religious practices have led to “the inevitable overlap between cultural, traditional, and religious practices as well as national legislation in many African states” which
has had the power to exert extra-legal control over many lives resulting in Modern Day Slavery.
Findings show that the most common forms of modern slavery in Nigeria are human trafficking and child labour. Because modern slavery is difficult to recognise, it has been difficult to combat this practice despite international and national efforts.
Recently, the federal government, the government of the People’s Republic of China, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) have decried increase in cases of human trafficking in the country in recent times.
The trio, while raising their voices against the menace, urged media organisations to ensure that message on trafficking is sustained in media space, until it reaches the nooks and crannies of the country to create needed national awareness on this menace.
Specifically, UNESCO revealed that over 150 million children are subject to child labour accounting for one in 10 children around the world. Speaking on the theme ‘Modern Day Slavery, A National Question: Protecting the Future Generation’ during an event to commemorate the day in Abuja, the cultural counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria, Li Xuda, said though the abolition of slavery happened a long time ago it still has its practical significance in our modern day
He, however, said the Chinese government was ready to work with Nigeria to halt Modern Day Slavery and also protect the future generation. He, therefore, urged all hands to be on deck to stop the menace.
On her part, the permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Dr Ifeoma Anyanwutaku, tasked youth leaders and students to take the message of the campaign against Modern Day Slavery to schools, homes and neighbourhoods to sensitise Nigerians on the menace.
The secretary general, NAT-COM UNESCO, Idowu Olagunju says that Modern Day Slavery is not history as it still manifests today in form of “child labour, forced marriages, death bondage among others”.
Quoting the International Labour Organisation, he said “more than 40 million people worldwide are victims of Modern Day Slavery which includes minorities, migrants and indigenous people in the country.”