(Last Updated On: December 1, 2022)


Every year on December 2nd, the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery draws attention to slavery that still exists in the world. This day also focuses on the eradication of contemporary slavery.
Many Americans think of slavery as something from history. This type of slavery involved the ownership and forced labor of African Americans. The country put an end to this type of slavery in 1865.


Unfortunately, however, slavery still exists. Today, modern slavery and human trafficking is a billion-dollar business. Global profits are believed to exceed $150 billion. According to the United Nations, slavery traps over 40 million people around the world. Modern slavery victimizes one in four children, globally. Additionally, victims of modern slavery experience unimaginable suffering.

The primary forms of modern slavery include:

  • Forced labor – involves migrant workers who work in domestic servitude, agriculture, and the food and garment industry. Forced labor also includes prostitution.
  • Child labor – involves children used for economic exploitation. It also includes any instance when work deprives children of their childhood or interferes with their ability to attend school.
  • Trafficking – involves recruiting, transporting, forcing, or coercing individuals to exploit them in some way. It usually refers to prostitution but also includes labor, slavery, or servitude.

Vulnerable groups in society are usually targeted for modern slavery. These groups include tribal minorities, indigenous peoples, and those who belong in a low caste. Victims also include those who can’t fight back. These victims are children, women, and those with mental illness or physical disability.


Individuals and organizations share their thoughts on contemporary slavery through a variety of means. They write newspaper articles, blog posts, host informational seminars, exhibits, and presentations. Political leaders and activists encourage people to do their part to end modern slavery.

To participate:

  • Learn how to spot a potential trafficking victim.
  • Become an informed consumer and don’t buy products or goods made by companies who enforce child labor or other types of slavery.
  • Support anti-trafficking efforts in your community.
  • Ask your local, state, and federal representatives what they are doing to end modern slavery.
  • Organize a fundraiser and donate the proceeds to an anti-trafficking organization.
  • Listen to stories of those who survived modern slavery and human trafficking.
  • Watch a documentary on modern slavery, including Born into Brothels, The Storm Makers, and Slavery: a 21st Century Evil.

Share awareness for this day on social media with #AbolitionOfSlaveryDay or #EndModernSlavery.


On December 2, 1949, the UN adopted the Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others. In 1985, a UN report of the Working Group on Slavery recommended the proclamation of World Day for the Abolition of Slavery on December 2nd. The recommendation included all forms of slavery. By 1995, the world came to know the day as International Day for the Abolition of Slavery.

Join the

Stay up to date on upcoming national days and Celebrate Every Day!