Dr. Richard Konteh on Modern Day Slavery, Child Protection and Children’s Rights in Sierra Leone

Slavery has evolved and manifested itself in different ways throughout history. Today some traditional forms of slavery still persist in their earlier forms, while others have been transformed into new ones.

Dr. Richard Konteh on Modern Day Slavery, Child Protection and Children’s Rights in Sierra Leone

According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) more than 40 million people worldwide are victims of modern slavery. Although modern slavery is not defined in law, it is used as an umbrella term covering practices such as forced labour, debt bondage, forced marriage, and human trafficking. Essentially, it refers to situations of exploitation that a person cannot refuse or leave because of threats, violence, coercion, deception, and/or abuse of power.


In addition, more than 150 million children are subject to child labour, accounting for almost one in ten children around the world.


Out of the 24.9 million people trapped in forced labour, 16 million people are exploited in the private sector such as domestic work, construction or agriculture.


Women and girls are disproportionately affected by forced labour, accounting for 99% of victims in the commercial sex industry, and 58% in other sectors.


With over half of Sierra Leone’s population under the age of 18, the Abolition of Slavery including child protection and children’s rights must be a huge concern in this country. According GOAL, every day, children and young people face challenging social and economic problems and are left vulnerable to neglect, abuse and exploitation in the form of child labour, child trafficking and indecent work. Over 45% of children aged 5 -17 are said to be engaged in child labour, with over 20% involved in dangerous work. The worst form of child labour, that of indecent work and child exploitation, is particularly common in major towns and cities such as Freetown and Kenema. Child trafficking is considered to be frequent and serious in Sierra Leone and the country is considered to be a transit point for further child trafficking movements beyond Sierra Leone.


This International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, join D-Unifier in calling on leaders to step up their efforts to achieve a freer society. Let us demand global solidarity and shared responsibility to end slavery in all forms.

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