Friday, February 20 is the United Nations Day for Social Justice. It seems only fitting to discuss this important day here. This year's theme is Ending Human Trafficking and Forced Labour. The UN defines forced labour as:
"takes different forms, including debt bondage, trafficking and other forms of modern slavery. The victims are the most vulnerable – women and girls forced into prostitution, migrants trapped in debt bondage, and sweatshop or farm workers kept there by clearly illegal tactics and paid little or nothing. In June 2014, governments, employers and workers at the ILO International Labour Conference (ILC) decided to give new impetus to the global fight against forced labour, including trafficking in persons and slavery-like practices."
The importance of ending forced labour and modern slavery is essential to a just and good society. Clearly this is a topic that should concern us all. The Government of Canada has a National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking. The Official Opposition's Isabelle Morin has also released this resource on the issue. What do you think of the Government of Canada's plan? Does it address the issues raised by the UN? Are there limitations?
Going forward, I think the UN's definition of social justice is something worth repeating here:
"Social justice is an underlying principle for peaceful and prosperous coexistence within and among nations. We uphold the principles of social justice when we promote gender equality or the rights of indigenous peoples and migrants. We advance social justice when we remove barriers that people face because of gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability."
These are important principles and really centre our attention on how social justice can guide our political consciousness.