Cover image: Anti-Slavery Day

Anti-Slavery Day

Taking place on 18th October every year.

Raising awareness of modern-day slavery and human trafficking.

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Updated 11 months ago

About the event

Whilst the transatlantic slave trade was outlawed in 1807 and slavery is prohibited internationally by Article 4 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, there are still an estimated 12.3 million people across the world in slavery today, forced to work for little or no pay.

Anti-Slavery Day is an initiative begun by former MP Anthony Steen in 2010 in order to draw attention to human trafficking and modern slavery. Now hosted by the Human Trafficking Foundation, the day is used raise awareness about modern slavery in all of its forms both in the UK and beyond. To mark Anti-Slavery Day, the Human Trafficking Foundation hosts an annual Anti-Slavery Day Awards Ceremony to highlight the contribution of the media and outstanding individuals in the fight against slavery.

How to approach it

This is a day to approach carefully given the potential of this topic to cause worries. Nevertheless, it is important that students, especially in older years, are aware that slavery is not just a historical issue. Specifically, it should be highlighted that modern slavery is often more covert and hard to spot - this means that it can occur in our own communities and in the supply chains of products we buy. 

As with other serious topics, scary details should be avoided here. Instead, engage your students in a conversation about the basics of what modern slavery in the UK might be like. The recently revealed life story of Sir Mo Farah is a great example for this. Farah was trafficked from Somalia and held against his will in London by a woman he had never met. In the UK Farah was forced to work as a domestic servant for another family before being helped by his teachers to gain British citizenship and new foster parents.

Through this story you can show that modern slavery may look very different to historical kinds. Ask: given this example, where might other instances of modern slavery occur? Good examples are in factories, in farms and in small businesses. Show in particular that this can happen anywhere in the world, especially in places with lower labour protections. Another key question to ask is: how can we recognise instances of this in our own community? Good ideas might be strong community care structures like well trained teachers, social workers and youth clubs. Another might be individuals looking for tell tale signs or checking up on people when things don’t seem right. 

Conversation starter

Slavery did not end when the transatlantic slave trade was abolished. Although slavery is now illegal practically everywhere in the world it still occurs, often hidden from view. Believe it or not, Mo Farah was a victim of human trafficking and modern slavery when he was forced to come to Britain from Somalia and work as a household servant for a family he didn’t know. In what ways is modern slavery different to the slavery of the past? How can we recognise it and protect against it?