If we want to end slavery, we must disrupt the entire system that makes people vulnerable and enables their exploitation. We must change the way we do business, economics and politics
More than 180 years ago campaigners who had fought long and hard to abolish slavery heralded the end of the transatlantic slave trade. The end of slavery in the majority of the British empire was a cause for celebration. But sadly, the party was short-lived.
Some of those early freedom leaders knew the job was far from complete, which is why, in 1839 they founded the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society to continue their work against slavery in all its forms. Renamed in 1990s as Anti-Slavery International, the charity marks its 180th anniversary today, as slavery still persists – and in fact thrives – in Britain.
One example of a modern-day victim of slavery is Grace (her name has been changed) who was looked after by a woman in the community after her parents died in a car accident in her native Nigeria. The woman sent her to the UK, but instead of finding a promised job as a nanny, she was raped, beaten and forced into sex work. She was 15, terrified, and didn’t know anyone she could ask for help. Even though she wasn’t physically restricted from leaving, she was too scared to escape – she was trapped in slavery.