Sunday, 25 August 2013

Fighting slavery in the 21st Century

According to the Sunday Times, the Home Secretary Theresa May is planning longer prison sentences for slave masters who bring immigrants into the country and force them to work. They will also be banned from running companies under a new anti-slavery law. Most people will be aware of human trafficking, particularly with regard to the sex-trade but what people will find surprising is that the law will have to be adjusted to stopping this barbaric trade in human beings.

Slavery was abolished by an act of Parliament in 1833, though there were a couple of territorial exceptions until ten years later in 1843. This was due to the work of the Anti-Slavery Society which was founded in 1823 and its most well known proponent was William Wilberforce. The rest as they say is history.

Except it isn't.

Slavery is not just an occasional problem in the UK, but remains a world-wide phenomenon. According to former Conservative MP Anthony Steen quoted in today's Sunday Times:

Trading in human beings is now the second most lucrative criminal activity in the world and a new slavery act is required to tackle this growing evil.

It should include accurate definitions of the many crimes related to human trafficking; clarification of the powers for prosecuting and punishing traffickers, better provision for ceasing criminal assets... better and more accessible compensation for victims; proper long term support and protection for adult victims and better care and security for child victims.


The Anti-Slavery campaign still exists and runs campaigns to this day:


Anti-Slavery International, founded in 1839, is the world's oldest international human rights organisation and the only charity in the United Kingdom to work exclusively against slavery. We work at local, national and international levels to eliminate all forms of slavery around the world by:

  • Supporting research to assess the scale of slavery in order to identify measures to end it;
  • Working with local organisations to raise public awareness of slavery;
  • Educating the public about the realities of slavery and campaigning for its end.
  • Lobbying governments and intergovernmental agencies to make slavery a priority issue and to develop and implement plans to eliminate slavery.
Please go to their website for further information: 

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