It is now over 200 years since the Slave Trade Act was passed and at the time the Act was hailed as a great victory for humanity over cruelty and inhumanity.
However, an equally significant initiative is required to ensure humane treatment for the millions of children currently held as slaves, forced to work long hours for little, or no pay, hope or comfort and left vulnerable to extreme hardship, violence and sexual exploitation.
It is estimated that, world-wide, 218 million children, between the ages of 5 and 16, are employed, in one way or another, in child labour. Of that total, around 126 million are involved in hazardous work.
Around 9 million children are believed to work under conditions akin to slave labour.
They are being robbed of their childhood by being the victimes of trafficking where children are either sold or lent by their parents to, or are abducted by, criminal elements.
Around 1.2 million children are trafficked each year. This number is increasing year by year. It is estimated that the criminals involved in this "low-risk, high profit" activity pocket profits of around £30 billion per annum...
Children and babies are trafficked for many reasons. They are sold to be used for domestic work, hazardous child labour, begging and other illegal activities such as stealing or for adoption or early forced marriage.
Trafficked children are also sold into sexual exploitation to adults who repeatedly rape and abuse them or rent them out to paedophiles for further abuse. In sex tourism, abusers deliberately pick holiday destinations where they know they can pay to have easy access to children for sexual intercourse.
If the children don't co-operate they are brutally assaulted and are at constant risk of contacting sexually transmitted infections, including HIV and AIDs.
In bonded child labour a child has to work off a debt incurred by parents or extended families and they are unable to stop working until the debt is cleared. Throughout the world, people work to pay off their debts but in some countries paying off debt is a life-time committment not far removed from slavery.
World wide, it is illegal to recruit and use children as combatants or in any other roles in military conflict but it is estimated that almost half a million children under the age of 15 are associated with fighting forces. They are used to kill, lay mines, act as spies or simply as "cannon fodder".
Agencies who wish to address the issues of abused and exploited children realise that the problem is so vast and deep-seated and the criminal rewards engendered by the exploitation so enormous that it would take a massive co-ordinated effort to even begin to tackle the problem.
We hear, constantly, these days about global initiatives to tackle the present economic situation but we hear very little about attempts to tackle this problem which is an clear and present affront to human dignity and rights.
It appear to be a problem that is best ignored and recognition of the efforts of the agencies involved will, occasionally, briefly surface only to quickly be submerged as soon as a footballer's wife buys a new dress - a source of constant fascination to the news media.
When sickening descriptions of children being killed by those who are supposed to care for them are high-lighted it, naturally, causes great outrage and those in authority give instant assurances that steps will be taken to ensure that, in future, vulnerable children will be adequately protected.
Whilst cruelty to children, is a world-wide problem, what are those in authority in Britain doing about the estimated 5,000 children, 75% of them girls, who are currently being used for prostitution in this country? Each and every one of them is at risk of being the next child tragedy.