Unless governments act now, millions of the world’s most vulnerable people could be pushed into contemporary forms of slavery and other exploitation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a UN independent human rights expert has said.

The warning comes from UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, Tomoya Obokata, who presented his first report to a virtual session of the UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday.

“Historical levels of underemployment or unemployment, loss of livelihoods and uncertain economic perspectives are some of the complex consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic which have hit the most vulnerable hardest”, he told members.

“Combined with weak safety nets and a dismantling of labour rights and social protection regulations in some countries, there is an acute risk that the poorest will be pushed into bonded labour, forced labour or other contemporary forms of slavery for survival.”

https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/09/1072492