Have you been to the cinema lately? If so, there are a few syllables that won’t have escaped your attention. Lincoln and Django – two big budget films on slavery, from some of the biggest names in Hollywood (Spielberg and Tarantino).
A great boost to public awareness, right?
Well, not exactly. With all this buzz about the past, it’s dangerously easy to forget that slavery is the stuff of present headlines as well as history books. That’s certainly the case in the UK, where according to Crimestoppers UK, a recent poll has found that 75% of the population do not consider human trafficking a ‘widespread problem’ at all.
Meanwhile, the trial of a nine-man ring of suspected sex-traffickers from Oxford paints a bleaker picture. In this case alone, several children were exploited in a manner not unlike historic slaves. Beaten, raped, drugged and even branded by their “owners”, it was eight years before Police came to the aid of these children; prisoners in an outwardly “normal” neighbourhood.
Would you have spotted the signs of trafficking? Polling results suggest that over 65% of us wouldn’t have.
Today, Crimestoppers UK has set out to change that, with the launch of Read The Signs – an informative campaign to raise public awareness and reporting of forced labour and human trafficking in the UK. To learn more, visit www.crimestoppers-uk.org. You can also check out Spot the Traffik – a free pocket-sized info-sheet to help you identify trafficking in your community.