The UN said the declaration was needed to “raise awareness of the situation of victims of human trafficking and for the promotion and protection of their rights”.
“Men, women and children fall into the hands of traffickers, both in their own countries and abroad. Every country in the world is affected by human trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit or destination for victims,” said the UN.
“Slavery, in both its ancient and modern forms, is not only shameful, it is as the abolitionist John Wesley said: ‘The execrable sum of all villainies.’
“[It] has no place in our world.”
According to human trafficking expert Monique Emser, the latest LexisNexis South Africa Human Trafficking Awareness Index showed that at least 93 people were trafficked into and within South Africa over the 12-month-period from January to December 2014 for unjust purposes, ranging from sexual exploitation to forced labour, forced marriage and body part trafficking.
“In the rest of the continent, that figure stood at least 2 958 people trafficked through other African countries for purposes including sexual exploitation, forced labour, domestic servitude and forced recruitment as child soldiers,” said Emser.
World Day Against Trafficking in Persons was adopted in 2013 after the UN General Assembly held a high-level meeting to formulate a global plan of action. This urges governments worldwide to take coordinated and consistent measures to defeat trafficking and was adopted in 2010.
The plan calls for integrating the fight against human trafficking into the UN’s broader programmes.