Imagine a world where slavery was never abolished. Where people are forced into work or marriage, and are unable to refuse or leave because they have been deceived or threatened. 

That world is a lot closer than you think. It’s 2018, yet forced labour still occurs in every country in the world, and in 2016 more than 40 million people were victims of modern slavery.

Rosa was one of the thousands of people who found themselves in forced labour after accepting a job abroad — and her story is harrowing. “I thought that I was giving [my children] a chance at a better future,” she said. “The job in Lebanon promised an extra $40 USD a month … but it was all lies.”

She was flown from Togo to Lebanon, and sent to work as a domestic worker for a wealthy family who made her work day and night, controlled what she ate, and beat her senselessly. “Once, [my employer] locked me in a room for three days with nothing to eat or drink. I was so desperate that I drank my own urine.” 

The Forced Labour Protocol is an international agreement which seeks to help people like Rosa. It requires governments to tackle forced labour, but countries have to officially approve it first. Only 26 countries have ratified the Protocol to date, with only six of these countries in Africa and one in Asia. Global Citizen is working with the International Labour Organisation to change this. 

Before International Day for the Abolition of Slavery on 2 December, we need another 24 countries to ratify the Forced Labour Protocol, and commit to tackling modern slavery in all its forms. As Nelson Mandela said, slavery is man-made and can be removed by the actions of human beings — so take action today: Sign our petition calling on governments to ratify the Forced Labour Protocol — particularly Australia, Canada, Germany, Austria, Chile, Belgium, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Malaysia, and Peru.

To find out more, you can visit 50forFreedom.org