Since we are Born Equal, we Can End Slavery

Mike Mungai

It is estimated that approximately 27 million people today, world over, are being held in some form of slavery or another. These are very grim statistics considering that during the slave trade era, it was approximated that the population of people that were held in slavery was 14 million.

After the Second World War, it was realized that there was a need to encourage basic freedoms for all. The United Nations was established and in December of 1948 it adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It called upon it’s member countries to disseminate the text of the Declaration. Sadly, many in the world still do not know of the basic rights as outlined by the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Article 1 states that: “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” This simply means that all are entitled to fair universal treatment. However, world over today, this is sadly the case. Individuals, men, women and children are being held in slavery. They are made to work in houses, farms, mines, being sexually exploited: all these against their will. If all human beings are born equal in dignity and rights; why are some people using threats and coercion to gain control of others so as to benefit from these un-symbiotic relationships?

Article 2 states that the Universal Declaration applies to everyone, despite the difference in their backgrounds. Article 3 states that everyone has the right to life.
Article 4 categorically states that no one should be held in slavery or servitude. However, statistics show that the number of people being held in slavery continues to increase rather than decrease, the main challenge being the covert nature of modern slavery which makes it (modern slavery) hard to identify, address and combat. Threats, torture and coercion are used to hold people in slavery which is contrary to the provision of Article 4 which states that “no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

This being the reality world over, we are all challenged to do something, to act and ensure that more and more people get to know their basic rights, as outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, other Regional Declarations, National Constitutions and subsequent laws. A world without human trafficking, a world without modern day trafficking is achievable, but we all have to play our part no matter how little. If we want to see a change in the trend of human trafficking, if we want to see it end, then we have to put the words of Mahatma Gandhi into action: “we have to be the change that we want to see in the world.”

Let us act, let us combat and put an end to human trafficking, let us do it for the future: time is now!


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