Julie Duane, Solicitor Advocate at CG Professional.
Statistics show that there are an estimated 40.3 million people in modern slavery around the world. Of those, approximately 10 million are children, 15.4 million are in forced marriages and 4.8 million are in sexual exploitation.
Whilst steps are being taken by organisations and countries to reduce this exploitation, regretfully slavery did not end with its abolition in the 19th Century. Instead the concept of slavery has adapted and changed and continues to harm people in every country in the world. As a result, 18 October 2019 is the date to mark Anti-slavery Day in order to show unity and strength and to try to rescue people from modern slavery in the UK and around the world.
The purpose of the campaign is to raise awareness not only in employer organisations, but also to spread the word and importance of seeking to eradicate this austerity. Employers can support Anti-slavery by showing a slave-free supply chain and educating its consumers and customers about its practices. One of the ways in which this can be done is via a Modern Slavery Statement which should be freely accessible on a Company’s website. For those companies with a turnover of £36m or more, this is a legal requirement.
Where did the campaign come from?
Anti-slavery Day came from the Anti-slavery Day Act 2010, which was a private members bill introduced by Anthony Steen CBE, who is now the Chair of the Human Traffic Foundation. The aim of the campaign is to fight for a world free from slavery.
What are the forms of modern slavery?
This can include a variety of devices, including but not limited to:-
- Forced labour;
- Debt bonded or bonded labour;
- Human trafficking;
- Descent base slavery;
- Child slavery; and
- Forced early marriages.
Modern slavery does not discriminate and can affect people of any age, gender or race. It is however statistically shown that those who are most vulnerable, are likely to be taken advantage of. It tends to be more prevalent in areas where individuals are not protected by the law and are suffering from a culture of austerity. There is however a common misconception that slavery only happens overseas and developing countries, however, statistics will show that no country is free from modern slavery, including Great Britain.
How can you support the campaign?
There are various ways in which you can help support the campaign against slavery including:-
- Becoming an Anti-slavery member;
- Adding your voice to the campaigns;
- Raise awareness by sharing the message on social media; and
- When celebrating a birthday, adopt a fundraising page for anti-slavery.
If you have any questions regarding the contents of this article, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the CG Team who will be more than happy to assist.