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It is time to abolish human exploitation once and for all, and to recognize the equal and unconditional dignity of each and every individual.

Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO

This day was designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to commemorate the freedom of slaves that took place in the past, and to raise awareness about the ongoing efforts to completely abolish slavery in the modern world. The event was set to be celebrated on this date as it honors an important uprising that took place in Haiti on the night of August 22 and into August 23, 1791. 

History of International Day of Remembrance for the Slave Trade and Its Abolition

Originally celebrated in a few different countries, this event seems to have started in 1998 with Haiti (where the uprising began), Goree Island in Senegal the following year, and then the event has grown to include more countries in the years since its inception.

One of the purposes behind this day, according to the UN, is to “inscribe the tragedy of the slave trade in the memory of all peoples”. The hope is that the International Day of Remembrance for the Slave Trade and Its Abolition will serve as a reminder for people to consider the history and devastation of this tragic practice as the countries of the world continue to move forward toward a peaceful and free existence.

How to Observe International Day of Remembrance for the Slave Trade and Its Abolition

Consider some of these ideas to get started on a quest to observe International Day of Remembrance for the Slave Trade and Its Abolition:

Learn More About the Haiti Uprising

When slaves in Haiti revolted against their captors starting in August 1791, this began a revolutionary war that lasted until 1804. This revolution is remarkable as it was the only known uprising of slaves throughout human history that ultimately led to the organization of a free state that was ruled by non-white people and former captives.

An excellent way to observe the International Day of Remembrance for the Slave Trade and Its Abolition might be to hop online and do a bit of research about this historical event, or head on over to the local public library and check out some books that offer insight into the world-changing revolution.

Fight Against Modern Slavery

Join together with some larger groups of people who are interested in fighting against the continued injustices of modern day slavery. In honor of the International Day of Remembrance for the Slave Trade and Its Abolition, consider connected with some non-profit organizations through volunteering time or making a financial donation. Check out some of these noteworthy groups:


Other days to observe that fit with this same message include the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery in December along with Human Trafficking Awareness Day in January. 

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