World Day of Social Justice 2015: Ending poverty, human trafficking and forced labour

Global estimates say there are between 20 and 30 million men, women and children trapped in slavery (Bawso)

Today marks the World Day of Social Justice, observed annually on the 20 February to promote efforts to tackle issues such as poverty, exclusion and unemployment.

Since 2009, the United Nations General Assembly has observed the date as a day to pursue social development and justice by removing barriers of gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability.

"World Day for Social Justice comes at a pivotal moment for people and our planet," UN General-Secretary Ban Ki-moon said. "Around the world, there is a rising call to secure a life of dignity for all with equal rights and respect for the diverse voices of the world's peoples. At the core of this movement lies the need for social justice."

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The theme for 2015 is ending human trafficking and forced labour.

"This year's commemoration focuses on the scourge of human trafficking and the plight of approximately 21 million women, men and children in various forms of modern slavery," Ban Ki-moon said.

"New instruments such as the ILO Protocol and Recommendation on forced labour and human trafficking are helping to strengthen global efforts to punish perpetrators and end impunity. We must continue to do more. We simply cannot achieve development for all if we leave behind those who are socially and economically exploited."

The General Assembly proclaimed 20 February as World Day of Social Justice in 2007, inviting Member States to devote the day to promoting national activities in accordance with the objectives and goals of the World Summit for Social Development and the 24th session of the General Assembly.

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