28 August is the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition, but Sir Mo Farah’s life tells a different story and demonstrates that slaves do not live in peace.
The Olympic gold medallist revealed in July that he was a victim of child trafficking and slavery. He was brought to the UK from Djibouti at the age of nine and forced to serve another family’s children.
So how big is the problem?
It is difficult to know. Many victims are unable or reluctant to report to authorities or may not be recognised as victims of modern slavery even if they do report.
Director of Anti-Slavery charity Unseen, Justine Currell, says: “We will never be able to eradicate this scourge without more people appreciating the extent of modern slavery and child trafficking, and the signs to look out for. Mo Farah has done a great job in moving understanding forward.”
Home Office research in 2014 estimated that there were between 10,000 to 13,000 potential victims of modern slavery in the UK, but the UK National Crime Agency said this was only the “tip of the iceberg”. The Global Slavery Index estimated that there were 136,000 people living in modern slavery in the United Kingdom in 2016.
What can we do?
We can learn about the signs of modern slavery, for example by visiting https://www.unseenuk.org/about-modern-slavery/spot-the-signs/
If we spot something that doesn’t look right we can call the UK modern slavery & exploitation helpline on 08000 121 700
We can sign the petition to Protect, Not Neglect, victims of modern slavery in the UK at https://www.antislavery.org/take-action/campaigns/protect-not-neglect/
Watch the video below