International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and Its Abolition


Thursday 23rd August marks the ninth annual International Day for the remembrance of the slave trade and its abolition.

The event, which this year coincides with the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade in Britain and its territories, was established to remember the tragedy of the transatlantic slave trade. The date marks night of August 22-23, 1791, in Santo Domingo (today Haiti and the Dominican Republic), which saw start of an uprising that played a vital part in abolition of transatlantic slave trade.

Whilst International Conventions as well as public opinion condemn it, slavery still exists. Mauretania was the last country to criminalise slavery. Though abolished by Presidential decree in 1981, Mauretania's parliament only made slavery a criminal offence on 9th August 2007. It is estimated that 20% of the Mauritanian population are enslaved.

Worldwide estimates suggest that at least 12 million people are subjected to work and live in conditions akin to slavery. There are still well-trodden slave routes, including some through or to the UK, where people, often children, are trafficked to work as sexual or domestic slaves.

There are eventsmarking the InternationalDaythroughout the UK, including at Parliament, where visitors and web users are invited to contribute to a commemorative patchwork quilt.

For more information on the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its abolition, please visit the UNESCO website.


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