Kenyan scholars on Wednesday urged the government to prioritize law enforcement, grassroots campaigns and poverty eradication programs to eliminate modern slavery.
Speaking in Nairobi during a forum to mark the International Day of remembrance of the victims of slavery and transatlantic slave trade, the scholars said that forced labor is still rife in developing world due to lax policing and poverty.
"Slavery has been outlawed globally, yet it exists in different forms due to socioeconomic and cultural factors. Women and girls in particular are being trafficked by criminal networks to work as slaves," said Ann Nangulu, a senior researcher.
The UN General Assembly in 2007 designated March 25 as the International Day to remember victims of transatlantic slave trade that thrived over 400 years.
During the four centuries, an estimated 15 million people of African descent were shipped to the Americas to work as slaves.
This year's commemoration focused on Women and girls who have borne the brunt of modern slavery. According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), an estimated 35 million people globally are enslaved.
Nangulu said that women are being trafficked to work as sex slaves and unpaid domestic workers.
"Domestic servitude and sex trafficking has affected women and girls from poor countries. Poverty, conflicts and archaic cultural practices have worsened this vice," said Nangulu.
There is need for countries to domesticate global instruments that outlaw all forms of forced labor.
Nangulu stressed that advocacy, law enforcement, conflict resolution and economic empowerment were key to eradicate modern slavery.
There is need for countries to seal legal and policy loopholes that are exploited by unscrupulous individuals to promote human trafficking.
Sophie Otiende, a grassroots campaigner said that disjointed labor laws and poor oversight exposed vulnerable groups like women, girls and youth to exploitation.
"Women and girls comprise 80 percent of victims of human trafficking globally. There is need to strengthen prevention, protection and prosecution in order to minimize this vice," Otiende said. Endi