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#STOPSLAVERY: Anti-Slavery Day 2021


Many people may think of slavery as a thing of the past, but unfortunately they couldn’t be more wrong. The realities of modern day slavery are not always visible in our direct surroundings or social circles, however it still runs deep in communities all around the world.


Thousands of people in the UK alone are currently living as slaves. This means they can’t exercise personal freedom and they are being forced to work against their will. Anti-Slavery Day, 18th October, provides an opportunity to raise awareness of human trafficking and modern slavery. The aims are to encourage governments, authorities, companies, charities and individuals to do their part in addressing the worldwide issue.


The term ’modern slavery’ encompasses both exploitation and human trafficking. In fact, 40.3 million people are estimated to be trapped in some form of modern slavery in the world today. Victims come from all different backgrounds and can be any age or gender. They are usually extremely vulnerable individuals, exploited due to homelessness, immigration status, drug/alcohol dependency, mental health problems, youth, difficult background or financial deprivation.


A huge issue, and one that is not often mentioned even in these discussions, is the online sexual exploitation of children. Which, according to IJM, skyrocketed during COVID-19 lockdowns. As we all live our lives increasingly in the digital realm we need to do extra work to ensure the safety, especially of children and young people. "Today, abusers located anywhere in the world can exploit children without ever leaving their homes."


So what can we do? It can be very hard to identify when someone is being exploited in these ways. It is always advisable to know your boundaries and personal safety; not taking on issues yourself, but rather spreading awareness and reaching out to the appropriate legal entity when flagging up suspicious people/circumstances.

"As with all crimes, it is important to report suspicions of modern slavery to the police. Do not attempt to intervene yourself - you may put yourself and others in danger, including the potential victim."

Here are some resources to stay informed and spread awareness this Anti-Slavery Day. Please, let's work together to end slavery today. Love, light & hope to all.


Signs of Modern Slavery downloadable poster:

https://theclewerinitiative.org/uploads/img/PostersandArtwork/Spot-the-signs/Signs-of-Modern-Slavery-standard-PDF.pdf


Child Protection in the time of Covid:

https://osec.ijm.org/resources/child-protection-efforts-in-the-time-of-covid-19-understanding-effective-casework-practices-and-policy-wins-during-the-pandemic-research-report/


A collection of church resources for Anti-Slavery Day: https://theclewerinitiative.org/resources/liturgy-and-prayers-asday21


Plain Sight


Slavery

hidden in plain sight.

We want things cheap

but don’t want to know why.

Are we complicit?

What can we do to make a difference?

Is this the system?

Or human being’s

darker

side to oppress?

Thrown on the floor

like a suitcase from a plane.

Bones clash. Roof is my sky.

Thirsty, the light hurts my eyes.

The days are spent on my knees.

Others were pulled in,

poor health.

It lasts too long.

I get so tired that rest never comes.

Slavery

hidden in plain sight.

We want things cheap

but don’t want to know why. I dreamed of life different.

Can’t go back,

just survive.

Fear feels too big in my hands.

I am weary as a fallen tree.

There is too much to say in me,

telling no one, no one

know what I’ve done.

Slavery

hidden in plain sight.

We want things cheap

but don’t want to know why.

They are footprints on the pavement,

hoods down and eyes cast.

The smell of acetone and alcohol rub,

hands of leather and wax.

Nail bar.

Car wash.

Apple farm.

Look for the signs,

question why.

They are hidden

but in plain sight.

Written by Melvin Witt, Caroline O’Connor, Rachel Hughes, Martyn Quinn, Jae Hassan, Sara Hutchinson, Helen Bransfield Edited by Rowan McCabe

Published: 18th October, 2018

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