Modern slavery

When we talk about slavery, many of us think of ancient Egypt and Greece, or the transatlantic slave trade. Slavery is often considered to be a thing of the past.

In some ways, that is true. Slavery was abolished in Europe in 1833 and, in the US, in 1865. In 1926, the Slavery Convention made slavery a crime. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, written in 1948, prohibits slavery in all its forms.

But in 2016, the International Labour Organisation estimated that more than 40 million people worldwide were victims of slavery. This Wednesday 2 December is the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, to raise awareness of modern slavery.

Modern slavery refers to any situation where someone is exploited and cannot escape because of threats, violence, or abuse of power. It includes forced labour, human trafficking, and forced marriage.

Of the millions living in modern slavery, one in four is a child, with about 150 million worldwide subject to child labour. Nearly 60% of forced labour victims are women and girls and, every year, 12 million girls enter into child marriages.

This week, how will you raise awareness for the many forms of modern slavery?

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Assembly

This animated video explains clearly how modern slavery differs from historical slave trades.

Activities

  1. Make a timeline of slavery throughout history, up to the present day.
  2. Design a poster to raise awareness of modern slavery. How would you change people’s ideas of what slavery looks like?
  3. Do some research into one particular form of modern slavery, for instance, forced labour. Make a presentation about it to share with your class.