September 21th, 2020

UN warns: COVID-19 pandemic could intensify slavery in the world

In a report presented at the 45th session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC), expert on modern forms of slavery, Tomoya Obokata, reinforces that the crisis caused by the pandemic affects different segments of the population on a global scale. Held from September 14 to October 6, the session brought together diplomats, NGOs, INDHs and UN officials, with the aim of talking about draft resolutions. This year, due to COVID-19, it is being held at the UN headquarters in Geneva, but in a hybrid format.

The rapporteur denounces that the economic consequences will be worse for those who were already in fragile situations before the crisis. In addition, extreme poverty and inequality, reinforced by the impact of the pandemic on countries, increase the level of vulnerability to modern forms of slavery. According to him, the experiences allow to obtain information on trends, and to create strategies and political responses.

Children and adolescents must be among the most affected. The temporary closure of schools, combined with the fear of food shortages and the lack of local security, can result in a greater level of exploitation of child labor and make it difficult to return to school at the time of reopening.

The increased risk of various forms of exploitation due to the pandemic has drawn the attention of the international community. Recently, the Regional Forum on Business and Human Rights for Latin America and the Caribbean brought the theme as an invitation to the productive sector to “transform challenges into opportunities”, in the construction not only of a “new normal” (as much is said), but of a “better normal” during and after the pandemic. At the meetings, concerns were raised about the most vulnerable populations, and ways for collective decision-making with the business sector were discussed.

Read the full report on the impact of COVID-19 on modern forms of slavery, visit: https://undocs.org/en/A/HRC/45/8

** With information from UN News

Text: Milena Zellauy | Edition: Daniele Martins


Since 2017, InPACTO has been dedicated to the analysis of factors that make a municipality, a region and its population more vulnerable to slave labor or any other human rights violation and, from the crossing and analysis of hundreds of socioeconomic data and demographic, establish a risk scale.

Currently, the InPACTO Vulnerability Index is extending its database to the entire national territory, already considering an update due to COVID-19 and its impacts on the population's vulnerability. At the same time, we are designing a platform that is accessible to our members.

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