Need for UK Government action on slave trade legacies

15 March 2007

Anti-Slavery International welcomes Prime Minister Tony Blair’s apology for Britain’s role in the Transatlantic Slave Trade (14 March) and calls on the Government take action in order to address the Slave Trade’s legacies.

“This is an important move forward, but for apology to be effective, it is vital the Government takes steps to address the legacies that continue to affect communities on three continents ,” Aidan McQuade Director of Anti-Slavery International said.

As part of its Bicentenary campaign, the Fight for Freedom 1807-2007, Anti-Slavery International is calling for measures that will increase understanding of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, such as making teaching this period a requirement under the National Curriculum; address the Slave Trade’s legacies and make ending contemporary slavery, which affects at least 12 million people worldwide, a priority.

The legacies of the Transatlantic Slave Trade reverberate today in terms of racism and discrimination against the black community, as well as the long term impact it has had in both the development and underdevelopment of communities and countries affected by the trade.

During the Transatlantic Slave Trade, Britain transported and enslaved an estimated 3 million people from Africa.

On 25 March 1807, Britain abolished the Slave Trade. This was not the end of slavery, people could still own other human beings, but it ended the trade from Africa to the British colonies and marked an important step on the path to the total abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and the liberation of those who had been enslaved.

 

NOTES TO EDITORS:

  • Anti-Slavery International is the world’s oldest human rights organisation and campaigns for the eradication of slavery, exposing current cases, supporting local organisations to release the minimum 12.3 million people in slavery, and the implementation of international laws against slavery. For further information please contact Paul Donohoe, Anti-Slavery International’s Press Officer, on 020 7501 8934 or email p.donohoe@antislavery.org