Could COP28 help protect Africans from growing modern slavery?
(Context, 17 Nov 2023) How can a 'just transition' for Africans - and better protection for those impoverished by climate impacts - be achieved?
Leona Vaughn is the vulnerable populations lead for the Finance Against Slavery and Trafficking initiative of the U.N. University Centre for Policy Research.
The Global South is disproportionately shouldering the burden of the climate crisis.
Africa, for example, is warming faster than global average temperatures and the increasing severity of climate risks such as droughts and floods is aggravating already severe social, environmental, and economic challenges.
As Africa struggles to adapt to this new climate scenario, it is also witnessing a worrying rise in the incidence of modern slavery. An estimated 3.8 million people are now trapped in situations of forced labour, up from 3.4 million in 2017.
There are several drivers of modern slavery. But our research indicates that the climate crisis is a key risk multiplier.
As climate-related pressures increase and economic opportunities simultaneously disappear, millions of people are pushed into vulnerable situations where they are forced to endure limited rights, informal work, and brutal exploitation.