Commemorating the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, the United Nations Secretary-General highlighted the impact of the contemporary forms of slavery.
More than 40 million people are still victims of contemporary slavery, including about 25 million in forced labour and about 15 million in forced marriage.
One in four victims are children, while women and girls account for 71 per cent of the victims.
According to him, slavery manifests itself today through descent-based servitude, forced labour, child labour, domestic servitude, forced marriage, debt bondage, trafficking in persons for the purpose of exploitation, including sexual exploitation, and the forced recruitment of children in armed conflict.
"We cannot accept these violations in the 21st century," he said in a statement on Wednesday.
Moreover, poor and marginalized groups, in particular racial and ethnic minorities, indigenous peoples and migrants, are disproportionally affected by contemporary forms of slavery.