The UK’s first anti-slavery day is just around the corner on the 18th October, 2010. The Anti-Slavery Day Act was passed into law just before the general election, providing a chance for raising awareness about the many people in the UK and around the world who continue to be trapped in exploitation. It is also a chance to promote the need for individuals across society to play their part in ending it.
We think it is absurd that while the date coincides with the European Anti-Trafficking Day, the new UK government has chosen to opt out of a new EU law to tackle human trafficking. This is despite the fact that it would increase protection for victims and make it easier to prosecute traffickers across the EU at a time when prosecution rates in the UK are at their lowest in five years.
The government claims they are already taking all the steps outlined in the new EU directive without needing to sign it. But even if they don’t see it as a vital opportunity to combat trafficking across borders in addition to what they’re doing already, they should at least be sending out a tough message to traffickers across the world. That message should be that trafficking will not be tolerated and that concerns over national sovereignty are not prioritized over the rights and protection of victims.
Anti-Slavery UK are asking people to call on the Government to support the adoption of this new international convention on domestic work. You can sign the petition here: http://www.38degrees.org.uk/page/s/stop-human-trafficking
Here are three things you can do to mark the day:
1. Sign the petition.
2. Set a challenge to organize a run for freedom (www.freedomticketforlife.org).
3. Get five people to sign up to our STOP THE TRAFFIK or join our ACT campaign (www.stopthetraffik.org/act).
The choice is yours. Choice represents freedom; and with freedom, comes responsibility.
You may have been part of the incredible response we’ve seen around the Slavery Season on Channel 4 in the UK. If you missed the programmes, they are still available on 4 on demand (UK only).