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On 2 December 2020, to commemorate the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, the UN Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery and the Geneva Human Rights Platform hosted a public webinar “Contemporary Slavery and Racial Discrimination: Civil Society Support to Survivors during the Pandemic”.

The webinar, sponsored by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, brought together the lived experience of a slavery survivors, civil society practitioners and the global perspective of UN experts.

It explored the links between contemporary slavery and racial discrimination and to highlight the exacerbated risks faced by racially discriminated groups of becoming victims of contemporary slavery.

The webinar also focused on the disproportionate social and economic impact of COVID-19 on racially discriminated groups subjected to contemporary slavery due to rising poverty and inequality.
The webinar recording is available on the Geneva Academy for human rights YouTube channel.


Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

UN experts

  • Mr. Danwood Mzikenge Chirwa, Chair, Board of Trustees of the UN Slavery Fund - Statement
  • Mr. Tomoya Obokata, Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery - Statement
  • Ms. Tina Stavrinaki, Member, Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination - Statement
  • Ms. Vibhawari Kamble, Associate Human Rights Officer, OHCHR - Statement - Tweet

Civil Society 

Anti-Racism Movement (Lebanon)

  • Ms Tsigereda Brihanu, former domestic worker, co-founder and Project Manager of  Egna Legna - Statement
  • Ms  Rahaf Dandash, Case Worker - Statement

Medica Zenica Association (Bosnia and Herzegovina) - Instagram Story | Facebook Story

  • Ms Irma Šiljak, Programme Officer - Statement

Centro de Apoio e Pastoral do Migrante (Brazil)

  • Mr Roque Renato Pattussi, General Coordinator - Statement

More resources

  • For detailed information on the webinar and panellists, please see the concept note and Webinar Summary Report
  • Statement by the experts: Governments must do more to prevent slavery and exploitation during COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Secretary-General's message on the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery