In today’s world, slavery comes in different forms and some people will be suffering from several at the same time. Bonded labour is when people are coerced into taking a loan that they are then never able to pay off. They then have to work for their debtors, but because of exorbitant interest rates, the loan is often passed down to their children. Child slavery affects an estimated 5.5 million children and includes child labour and child trafficking. Victims of trafficking are incredibly vulnerable: taken from family they often have no means of communicating or escape. Forced marriage also falls under slavery as girls and women are given no choice. Children as young as eight are forced into lives of servitude where they often suffer terrible abuse and no hope of escape. Forced labour is when people are illegally recruited by individuals, businesses or government using the threat of violence or other penalties. People born into a particular class or group in society are susceptible to descent-based slavery.
Anti-Slavery Day falls on 18th October every year, and is an opportunity for as many people as possible to raise awareness of modern slavery and put pressure on governments, local authorities, public institutions and private and public companies to address it now. The Anti-Slavery Day Bill became law in 2010. It was introduced in Parliament as a Private Members Bill by Anthony Steen MP for Totnes, South Devon, in 2010 and passed through both Houses, unopposed although amended. The bill defines modern-day slavery as child trafficking, forced labour, domestic servitude and trafficking for sexual exploitation. There are events taking place in the two weeks before and after 18th October, with communities across the UK speaking out against human rights’ atrocities.
Anti-Slavery is an organisation working with countries across the world to abolish slavery. On their website you’ll find information on how to donate and how slavery affects the world today. If we are truly to abolish slavery, we need to take action now.
Article by Lucy Corkhill