Anti-Slavery Day 2022: Coalition to Stop Slavery.
A cause very close to our heart here at Beulah is Anti-Slavery day on October 18th, a date recognised by Parliament. Modern Slavery Awareness Day continues the vital work that is currently being undertaken post the Modern Slavery act that was passed 7 years ago.
As we speak there are currently 4000 live police investigations into criminal acts of modern slavery in the UK and around 136,000 people are thought to be victims of modern slavery - with the figure thought to be around 50 million in the world.
The 18th October is a chance for us all to come together and ensure we are doing all we can to combat slavery in modern Britain that comes in all its guises from labour exploitation to domestic servitude to criminal and sexual exploitation. What should we, the global community be on the lookout for on this vital task to end modern slavery?
There are many signs to look out for ranging from an unkempt appearance to wearing the same clothes day in day out, to those who seem unfamiliar in the environment where they are working, those who are picked up and dropped off for work late at night and or very early in the morning and those who are extremely cautious of talking to strangers.
As the Coalition to Stop Slavery explains, ‘Modern slavery is exploiting people for personal or financial gain. People can become trapped in making our clothes, picking our crops and working in factories. They can be forced to become sex workers or work in houses as cooks, cleaners or nannies.
Victims can be any age, gender or from any country, including the UK. They might feel unable to leave because they are scared or owe money to their exploiter. Some might not think of themselves as a victim.’
The Coalition to Stop Slavery estimates that more than half of adults in the UK think they have spotted a victim of Modern Slavery but only just over a third reported it, sometimes because they feared the consequences.
The general public can anonymously report a suspected incident and call the Modern Slavery and Exploitation Helpline on 0800 0121 700 or report in on modernslaveryhelpline.org
Such is the slogan of the most recent campaign video based on the true story of a man who was working as a slave in a car washing facility where over a period of a year he lost 40 kilos in weight and was forced to work all day with no breaks.
The title of the video dreamt up by those behind the John Lewis Christmas advert is ‘It’s never this obvious’ relating to a placard on display at the exit of the car wash entitled ‘Cheap Car Wash, All staff victims of Modern Slavery’.
Of course it never is that obvious but it makes you think twice about where and who we go to to purchase goods and services.
“Modern Slavery” as Andrew Wallis OBE, spokesman for the coalition says “is a crime hidden in plain sight.” This “pandemic of slavery” as Caroline Haughey KC says must be reported. “By failing to call it out, we become part of the problem."
Written by Sybilla Hart