With thanks to contributor David Soori:
UN Pays Tribute to Victims of Slavery
Slavery has not ended in modern times, but rather continues in forms of forced labor,
sexual exploitation, human trafficking The United Nations held its
first international day of remembrance Tuesday for victims of slavery
and the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. As Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
pointed out, slavery has not ended in modern times, but rather
continues in the forms of forced labor, sexual exploitation and human
trafficking. From United Nations headquarters in New York, VOA’s
Margaret Besheer has more.
The practice of slavery dates back throughout human history and
victimized many peoples. But in the 15th century, European explorers
began capturing and transporting large numbers of people from West
Africa to colonies in the Western hemisphere.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the Trans-Atlantic slave
trade one of the greatest atrocities in history.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (Feb 2008 file photo)”This
unparalleled global tragedy claimed untold millions of lives over four
centuries, and left a terrible legacy that continues to dehumanize and
oppress people around the world to this day,” he said.
African Union Ambassador Augustine Mahiga said more than 25 million
Africans were transported across the Atlantic as part of the slave
trade, and more than 2 million others died during the difficult
“It left Africa vulnerable to deeper intrusion by foreign powers and
foreign domination,” he noted.Â “Today, we should remember those
millions who resisted captivity and those who perished while being
transported in overcrowded ships. Those who died from harsh conditions
or brutality, and simply from broken hearts.”
The slave trade lasted more than 350 years and played a central role
in building the modern world. In most of the Western world, slavery
was abolished two centuries ago. But as Secretary-General Ban pointed
out, it continues today as forced labor, sexual exploitation and human
Tuesday’s commemoration, while solemn, also paid tribute to the rich
cultural heritage of the peoples of Africa and the Caribbean who the
slave trade victimized.