Modern slavery is a broad umbrella term for several highly exploitative practices including forced labour, bonded labour, the worst forms of child labour, forced marriage and human trafficking, to name a few. Justice and Care (an anti-modern slavery organisation) released a report in 2020 stating that there are over 100,000 victims of modern slavery in the UK.
It is important to understand that modern slavery and exploitative practices are not new. They have been deeply embedded into the socio-economic fabrics of our societies; deeply rooted in our global economy and systems. After the Abolition of Slavery in 1833 (UK), new forms of exploitative practices emerged. For example, indentured labour was strategically deployed to exploit people from India and China in the UK for labour. These labourers had to live and work in exploitative conditions. Exploitation exists today to maintain power imbalances, utilise vulnerabilities, increase profit margins and indulge in greed.
Urgent Need for Concrete Action:
Governments, businesses, multi-national cooperations and individuals are all perpetrators of exploitation. Whilst we as global citizens (and youth) can and do play a part in helping to end exploitation, governments and businesses must take coordinated action.
Progress is slow and in the corporate world, anti-slavery efforts are often used to disguise environmental or other supply chain abuses. We need to see change and action.
Policies, strategies and programmes that are created with or by survivors, that include youth voices and marginalised groups and address the root causes of exploitation in the first place must be adopted urgently. The intersectionalities of these global issues and challenges we face today need to be recognised too.
The Role of Youth:
As a youth-led organisation, our aims involve awareness and action. Modern slavery is an incredibly broad topic – it links with mental health, international politics, conflict, COVID-19, climate change, gender equality, history, economics, finance, artificial intelligence, agriculture, supply chains, religion, culture, systemic racism, LGBTQIA+ rights and so much more.
This organisation is a space for youth and civil society – your space – to learn, grow, share and take action.