GLOBAL SLAVERY INDEX REPORTS 29 MILLION LIVING IN SLAVERY WORLDWIDE, 3,000 IN AUSTRALIA
On the eve of International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, which is marked each year on November 25, it was today revealed that UK police have rescued three women held in domestic slavery in London for 30 years.
Executive Director of the Australian National Committee for UN Women, Julie McKay said that this incident reveals that slavery is occurring across the world and we are all bystanders to it.
The Global Slavery Index Report 2013 reports that 29 million people worldwide are living in slavery, with an estimated 3,000 people living as slaves in Australia.
“The horrific ordeal of these three women shows us that modern slavery is a real and pressing issue,” Ms McKay said.
“It also demonstrates that slavery is not just a ‘third-world issue’ and can happen anywhere, including here in Australia.”
“Domestic servitude and sex trafficking are just two of the forms of slavery that women in Australia are currently experiencing. We must not ignore the issues happening on our doorstep, and in neighbouring countries.”
Ms McKay also commended the work of UK-based Freedom Charity, who were contacted by one of the women after seeing a television special about forced marriage, and assisted the police in their rescue. Ms McKay said that this incident demonstrates the incredibly effective work done by women’s empowerment organisations worldwide.
“Organisations like UN Women are working in countries around the world to protect women from domestic servitude and unpaid labour, from forced marriages and from violent situations,” she said.
Through the Safe Cities Initiative, UN Women is exploring innovative prevention strategies and employing technology, including mobile technology, to raise awareness and protect women’s rights. UN Women is working to ensure that women experiencing violence have access to health services, shelters, hotlines, policy, justice and legal aid.
“We must ensure that women and girls are safe and that perpetrators are held accountable for their crimes and brought to justice,” said Ms McKay.