Why we mark Anti-Slavery Day

18 October 2015

Jakub Sobik, Press and Digital Media Officer

anti-slavery day, why we mark it

Today, on 18 October, we are marking the Anti-Slavery Day in Britain and Anti-Trafficking Day across the European Union.

Why on earth do we need a day to mark slavery in the 21st century I hear you asking? Isn’t it a thing of the past, gone with the great work of 19th century abolitionists Britain is so proud of? And yes, maybe there are some people in slavery still in other corners of the world, but what does it have to do with us?

Unfortunately, a lot.

Because slavery exists next to us, and no country is free from slavery, including Britain. The government estimates that there are 13,000 people in slavery in Britain right now.

But didn’t we have a Modern Slavery Act passed through the parliament this year, so that’s being taken care of?

Well, yes, it’s a step in the right direction, and SOMETHING is being done. But here’s a fact, brought recently to light by the UK Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner Kevin Hyland.

Out of estimated 13,000 people in slavery in Britain only 1% – ONE PER CENT! – have a chance of seeing their exploiter brought to justice.

We are at the beginning of the road, not the end. And that is why we still have to mark Anti-Slavery Day today.

Follow Jakub on Twitter: @notravic