The sixty-sixth session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) includes the review theme: Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work.
In this context, it is important to first address why modern slavery and human trafficking disproportionately affect women and girls across the globe. While estimates concerning the overall numbers of victims differ, the 2017 Global Estimates of Modern Slavery illustrates that over two thirds of the total number of victims are female. More precisely, the estimates suggest that women and girls account for 58% of victims of forced labour, 84% of victims of forced marriages, and 99% of victims of commercial sexual exploitation. These figures are truly astonishing and not acceptable in today’s societies. And the pandemic has unfortunately exacerbated the vulnerability of women and girls to modern slavery and human trafficking.
Today, slavery, forced labor, and human trafficking are largely illegal around the world. International norms and obligations range from the Slavery Convention (1926) to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) to the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (2000) and the ILO’s Forced Labour Convention (1930). The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted in 2015 includes Target 8.7 on ending forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking in the next 15 years, Target 5.2 on trafficking and sexual exploitation and Target 16.2 on ending abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children.
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