The United Nations today marks the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery – an international event of much importance to the Baha’i community.
Baha’u'llah, the Founder of the Baha’i Faith, wrote to Queen Victoria, praising Her Majesty for her government’s abolition of slavery. “We have been informed that thou has forbidden the trading in slaves, both men and women. … God hath, truly, destined a reward for thee, because of this.” The Baha’i writings teach the equality of men and women and prohibit any kind of slavery, sexual subjugation, or trafficking in human beings. As Ban-Ki Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, notes in his statement marking this International Day, trafficking is a form of modern slavery.
Thousands of women have been trafficked into the UK in recent years, according to reports by Amnesty UK, the Association of Chief Police Officers, and other bodies. Globally, it is estimated that nearly 2.5 million people from 127 different countries are being trafficked, with an annual market of about US$42.5 billion and revenues between US$4-9 billion.
Women who are trafficked are forced to work as prostitutes, but also as domestic servants, industrial workers and even in the production of illegal substances. The Baha’i community has long been active in promoting awareness of trafficking. The UK Baha’i community has participated in numerous anti-slavery and anti-trafficking coalitions, working with government officials – including the Attorney General – to combat trafficking in the United Kingdom.
In their daily activities, Baha’is cultivate greater social and spiritual awareness of the rights of all human beings – men and women of any ethnicity – and the responsibilities of individuals and communities to defend the victims of any kind of oppression, including trafficking. By creating environments where people of all ages and backgrounds can together study the spiritual principles of the Baha’i writings, translating these into service activities for their wider communities, Baha’is hope to contribute to the long-term elimination of trafficking.
[tags]Baha’i, Bahai, Women, UN, Slavery[/tags]