There are more than 18 million people kept as slave laborers, UN Chief marked the International Day of Abolition of Slavery.
In his message, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that the international community came together in the 19th century to declare slavery an affront to "our common humanity." Today, he added, governments, civil society and the private sector must unite to eradicate all contemporary forms of slavery.
Ban urged Member States, businesses, foundations and other donors to support the UN Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery so that civil society can carry out essential projects for the rehabilitation and redress of victims.
"We also need clear-sighted strategies, strong national legislation and a commitment to coordinate the fight against this crime," he stressed.
Ban also urged all States to ratify and implement the relevant instruments of international law -- in particular the new Protocol drawn up by the International Labour Organisation, which is designed to strengthen global efforts to eliminate forced labour.