« Slavery is an abominable crime. However, slavery and proslavery practices still exist in numerous regions of the world. This type of exploitation is currently developing and resurfacing in modern forms, such as debt bondage, the sale of children and the trafficking of women and girls for the purposes of prostitution. Slavery is routed in ignorance, intolerance and greed. It is our responsibility to create a climate in which such abuse and cruelty is inconceivable. One way to achieve this is to remember the past and honour the victims of the Atlantic slave trade. By keeping past injustices in mind, we help to ensure that such systematic violations of human rights may never happen again.« 

Message from Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General, to mark the International day of the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade, 25 March 2010.

The Nantes Memorial to the abolition of slavery also has a role to play in reminding us of the dramatic urgency of the situation of slaves today.

Consequently, the past helps us to understand the present, and the Memorial calls on the conscience of each and every visitor to look at the world we live in. View links on modern slavery.

Today, it is estimated that 27 million people across the world live in slavery; twice as many as the total number of slaves deported by the Atlantic slave trade over four centuries.

At least 200 million people are victims of debt bondage, forced marriages, prostitution and forced labour, including a considerable number of children.

In August 2010, the UN launched a global action plan to fight human trafficking.

In France, the Committee against Modern Slavery estimates that there are several tens of thousands of forced labourers working in clandestine workshops or as servants. Thousands of women are subject to forced marriages and tens of thousands are forced to work as prostitutes.