The following are extracts from presentations at the Modern Day Slavery event in Truro, 11 April 2015:

Baroness Cox:

‘SLAVERY IS THE STATUS OR CONDITION OF A PERSON OVER WHOM ANY OR ALL THE POWERS ATTACHING TO THE RIGHT OF OWNERSHIP ARE EXERCISED’ The Slavery Convention, 1926.

IT IS ESTIMATED THAT THERE ARE 35.8million MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN NOW SUFFERING SOME FORM OF SLAVERY
(Global Slavery Index, 2014).

The Khartoum government denies slavery exists in Sudan but, under their religious mandate of jihad to enslave Christians, genocide and ethnic cleansing continue unchecked. It is estimated that there are tens of thousands of Sudanese from South Sudan and the Nuba Mountains still enslaved today. In Uganda the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) displaced more than 1.6 million people, killing and maiming innocent civilians. 25,000 children were abducted and trained to become soldiers, forced to use other children as live target practice, their families killed in retribution if they escaped. The LRA still operates in the Congo and Sudan. In India children as young as 5 or 6 are sold into temple service, effectively sexual slavery, where at puberty they are expected to serve 12 men a day.

Between 700,000 and 2 million people are traded across international borders every year. Half are thought to be children and more than 70% female. Many are trafficked for sex, the most lucrative business. Children are also valued for their small fingers and chained to weaving looms.

Britain is used as a destination and transit country for people trafficked across the globe. British citizens travel from Britain to sexually abuse children overseas.

It is highly likely that a portion of the food you eat and the products you buy have been produced by slaves and the money invested on your behalf is invested in companies which are either supplied by or own other companies that use slave labour.

In the UK slaves are brought to London by foreign diplomats with diplomatic immunity, and if they escape it is the slaves who face the risk of deportation.

Breaking the Bonds:

To break the bonds of slavery the following bonds need to be broken:

  • Ignorance
  • Silence
  • Interests
  • Ideology
  • Complacency
  • Complicity

Freedom is indivisible.

Every person denied freedom diminishes our freedom and challenges us to use our freedom to try to achieve theirs.

William Wilberforce fulfilled his responsibility in his day. Will we fulfil our responsibility in our day?

“I cannot do everything, but I must not do nothing” Baroness Cox of Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust (HART): www.hart-uk.org

James Ewins, International Advocate:

God’s wave of Justice has been growing and building, fulfilling God’s Manifesto in Micah 6:8: “What does God require of you? To do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God”

In 2007, the year we celebrated 200 years of the abolishment of slavery, Stop The Traffik reminded us that more people are enslaved today than in the 4,000 years of international trade outlawed 200 years ago.

The number of slaves in the UK are smaller than those overseas but the exploitation and trauma suffered by victims of slavery here is the same. The ‘repeated theft of life’ is going on here in the UK. We lack credibility as a post-colonial power abroad, but we can address the problem here and regain respect abroad.

The Modern Slavery Act 2015 was a divine example of cross party unity. There was a clear and overt recognition that slavery exists and that action needs to be taken.

The Modern Slavery Act 2015 is the first law to state that slavery in the UK is illegal. It prescribes a punishment of life imprisonment. There is an obligation to protect victims and a UK national can be charged if they commit an offence overseas, and applicable to those indulging in sex tourism.

Kevin Highland has been appointed as Anti-Slavery Commissioner, a victims Champion.

Every public body has a mandatory duty to report suspected activities. Transparency is required in the supply chain of goods. This has an implication for passive consumer choices. Every UK company is required to report how they identify and eliminate slavery in their supply chain. They can now be held accountable to the public and the public needs to overcome its complicit silence and demand answers.

The list of exploitation is endless.

The Act empowers and compels us to act.

What about Cornwall?

British people are being sold into slavery by British people in Cornwall. Nobody in Cornwall lives more than 13 miles from a slave.

Signs to watch out for:

  • depressed/oppressed – one third of migrant workers are not legally registered
  • over time their health and demeanour deteriorates
  • ID is held by other parties
  • isolated
  • don’t know where they are – they are not told
  • debt bondage
  • controller speaks for them
  • subservient, subdued, no eye contact
  • they work hard but they have no money
  • living at same address as controller
  • no bank account

There were 156 crimes of labour/sexual exploitation reported across the SW. This is thought to be the tip of the iceberg. There are 37 children on the register as suffering from expoitation in Cornwall.

Falmouth Harbour is a major place for the buying and selling of slaves.

People from the UK are being trafficked abroad. Most respond to job ads: ‘ice-cream seller abroad, great rates of pay, only 2 places left’

If you respond to a job ad:

  • find out about the employer and the workplace
  • find out how much the expenses will be and how much and when you will have to pay them back
  • check you will have a full working visa not a travel visa
  • check the job contract
  • tell someone where you are going
  • if it seems too good it probably is

Action you can take:

Join NGOs – provide a critique.

If you want to be involved in identifying and responding quickly to incidences contact Safer Cornwall, the modern slavery lead for Cornwall mdavies1@cornwall.gov.uk . A question being asked now is how do we respond? If someone needs help, what help is available? Make sure NGOs know, make sure you know, make sure other people know.

Join the Stop The Traffik, Devon and Cornwall facebook page to keep aware of what’s happening and share instances of trafficking with friends on facebook and ask them to share it – it’s important that we do not fall into silence and complicity. You can also follow news on twitter @STOPTHETRAFFIK

Migrant workers often ask about where they can go to pray. Get your church and/or events on the Cornwall Migrant Worker Team‘s facebook page so they can have somewhere to go near them.

The Clothes/Fashion industry is one of the biggest users of slaves, from cotton picking to weaving to manufacture. There have also been a number of factories using slaves in the UK. When you buy clothes, check the transparency of the supply and manufacture. Use ethical directories to buy your clothes:

Ethical fashion directory: UK clothing brands A-Z

Ethical Fashion Brands

Ethical Consumer

Style With Heart

The Good Shopping Guide

Fashion Conscience

People Tree

The government started to bring in a UK caste system law to protect thousands in the UK who are imprisoned in treatment categories according to their ‘caste.’ Dalits are an oppressed group of people considered ‘untouchable.’ 250,000 Dalits live in the United Kingdom and face discrimination, prejudice and abuse in many aspects of daily life. Caste discrimination is entirely legal within UK legislation. As a result of a severe backlash from Hindu nationalists the government have delayed adopting the bill. Please raise this issue with your MP and sign the petition.

If you notice anything slightly suspicious, report it.

You can ring Crimestoppers anonymously to avoid reprisals. 22 people are arrested every day through phonecalls made to Crimestoppers: 0800 555 111.

You can also call the National Trafficking Hotline: 0800 0121 700

 

Addendum:

David Hampshire provided a thorough and illuminating Biblical context for slavery from the Judeo/Christian bible. Some of the points raised included: we are all created equal; slavery was not a natural existence for a Hebrew ; God punished those who didn’t release their slaves after 6 years; the sin of Sodom was the bad treatment of the stranger. Check out David’s presentation for more: David Hampshire – Slavery in the Bible

Muhammad Al-Hussaini’s presentation on Slavery in Islam was open, passionate and heart-broken. He described the history of slavery in Islam, what is forbidden, how the acceleration of jihad and the reinstitution of slavery are thought to be signs of the End Times, how twentieth century commentaries advocate slavery in jihad, how the Muslim treatment of women and children impacts slavery, how Muslims today are comfortable with the horrors and certainties of their religion and the problem of gender discrimination in Shari’a lawcourts in the UK: Muhammad Al Hussaini – Slavery in Islam

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