LAHORE - Like around the world, The Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition 2016 was observed across the country yesterday.

Even though Pakistan officially abolished slavery in 1992, according to Global Slavery Index, it is among the top five countries for having trade of modern slavery.

Estimated 45.8 million people are enslaved globally where as 58 percent of those living in slavery are in India, China, Pakistan, Balderdash and Uzbekistan. Pakistan stands among the ‘highest absolute numbers of people in modern slavery for low-cost labour that produces consumer goods for markets in Europe, Japan, North America.

The day is aimed to revolt against the slave system and obtain freedom and independence of slaved men.

Several seminars and events organised by social and political organisations across the world to pay tribute those struggled for freedom and abolition of slavery.

Institute for Social Justice says more than 13,000 brick kilns in the country have employed about one million labourers, including women and children, and majority of them were bonded labourers through an illegal advance payment system.

According to Human Rights Watch, millions of workers in Pakistan are held in contemporary forms of slavery throughout the country employers forcibly extract labour from adults and children who deny them the right to negotiate the terms of their employment.

The contemporary forms of slavery, which are set forth and defined in international law, include: debt-bondage, women trafficking, and child servitude.

The day was marked in remembrance of night of August, 1791, men and women from Africa who were sold into slavery revolted against the slave system to obtain freedom and independence for Haiti which later gained in 1804.

Banning of slave trade by Denmark occurred in 1803, banning of slave trade by the United Kingdom in 1807, abolition of slavery in the United States of America in 1863-1865, in Chile in 1823, abolition of slavery in the British colonies in 1833-1838. While China abolished slavery in 1910, Iraq in 1924, Iran in 1928, Yemen and Saudi Arabia in 1962, United Arab Emirates in 1963.

In his message on the day, Unesco Director-General Irina Bokova said: “The uprising mark as a turning point in human history, greatly impacting the establishment of universal human rights. All of humanity is part of this story, in its transgressions and good deeds. The courage of these men and women has created obligations for us.”

Punjab Minister for Labour & HR Raja Ashfaq Sarwar, on the day against abolition of slavery, paid a surprise visit to a brick kiln near Joiyaanwala More, Sheikhupura, and inspected the implementation of the Child Labour Ordinance 2016. Government officials say no child labour was found there while all the children were found enrolled in nearby government schools.