Statement by NOW President Christian F. Nunes
WASHINGTON, D.C. – NOW stands with the United Nations today on the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery and demands justice for the millions robbed of their fundamental human rights – the majority of whom are women. Of the 40.3 million people living in modern slavery, women and girls account for 71 percent of victims worldwide.
Patriarchal societies’ deeply ingrained misogyny and culture of discrimination often marginalize women and leave them little options for education or employment. Without ways to make a living, systemic sexism exacerbates their vulnerability to coercion and exploitation, which can ultimately lead to physical or mental abuse.
Modern slavery takes many forms. Human trafficking often leads to forced sex work. However, traffickers exploit women and children for labor in restaurants, factories, and warehouses, on farms, in private homes as domestic servants, and across other industries.
As intersectional feminists, we understand the overlapping forms of oppression different women face. Our fight to end violence against women and equality for all extends to those working to end modern slavery. We call for governments to enact and enforce laws against trafficking, and we hope that those enslaved can find freedom and a new way of life.
Through education and empowerment, NOW members work toward a future where society values and respects all women and girls, and we all have the resources and opportunities to reach our full potential.