I wake to the sound of pounding. My mother is pounding groundnuts. She’s singing, her song keeping time with her...read more
Last month, the UK-based anti-trafficking organisation Unchosen held a conference at Nottingham University. The Conference had a series of brief addresses from a wide variety of people working against all forms of Modern Slavery. Various priorities were highlighted by the speakers. Among these were the importance of working to see the law enforced because of the concern of so few convictions each year, as well as the large number of children going missing from home care centres. Several speakers highlighted the importance of awareness raising and education of professionals. Awareness raising in communities and holding businesses to account was seen as vital.
Another prominent issue was the role of technology in enabling Modern Slavery, raising the question of how we advance our skills to counteract it, i.e. to break the journey from anonymity to discovery and recognition. A strong recommendation was made to work with source countries, with various organisations present establishing and developing links with Bulgaria, Albania, Nigeria, Vietnam, Romania and others. Source communities need to be aware of the dangers for individuals traveling for work with little information about where they are going or who they are dealing with. There is no typical offender and traffickers prepare well to avoid detection.
Kevin Hyland, the UK Commissioner on Modern Slavery, gave a pre-recorded address. He supports the establishment of modern evidence-based research centre in Nottingham on Human Trafficking. The University is taking a leading role in combatting trafficking and recently announced an investment of £200 million for the creation of research hubs focusing on the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals. Key to the mission of these research groups will be tackling the issue of modern slavery (read more here: http://bit.ly/2rGtm9k). The Commissioner also emphasised the importance of cooperation with source countries and offering alternative opportunities to vulnerable people likely to be trafficked. Building awareness in communities is ongoing for all the organisations and activists present at the conference. Public awareness cultivates the local community as the ‘eyes and ears’ to inform authorities of suspicions of trafficking.
A new film produced by Unchosen is due to be released in the autumn, made with the help of survivors.