“This year’s Day of Remembrance pays particular tribute to the many women who suffered and died during the slave trade. … Women slaves played a key role in maintaining the dignity of their communities. Too often their leadership and brave resistance have been underestimated or forgotten.” (Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General)
Slavery is one human tragedy that occurred over 4 centuries ago, on continents such as Africa especially in West Africa were affected as many people along the coast were transshipped across the Atlantic Ocean to mainly the Americas to work in the sugar and coffee fields there. Many suffered many atrocities during these gruesome journeys. However, even though slavery was banned centuries ago its practices have continued in this day and age in different formats in many parts of the world.
Transatlantic Slave Trade has been an annual observance with a different theme every year and this year the focus was on “women and slavery”. As part of the activities UNIC Lagos and Lusaka held a joint WebEx meeting for students in the two cities and the discussion was primarily focused on modern day slavery, students from university and high school level took part and gave their views on the issues around modern day slavery in relation to what is presently happening in their communities.
Some of the examples relating to modern day slavery included payments of gratitude by those who look for jobs for others such as maids, forced labor of both adults and children, subjecting people to inhumane conditions of service. The issue of surrogacy was discussed, however, it was not fully determined whether it was a form of modern slavery or not.
The discussion continued in Lusaka through various platforms such as on Twitter, Facebook and via bulk sms. Also campaign material was distributed as another way of creating awareness. There was also a special screening of the documentary called “They Are We” held at UNIC Lusaka. Other outreach activities included social media awareness and distribution of background information on the topic of slavery and the theme for 2015.