Yesterday (18 October 2017) marked Anti-Slavery Day in the UK and a range of charities, NGOs and individuals have highlighted the horrific prevalence of modern slavery.
The International Development Secretary Priti Patel wrote pieces in Eastern Eye and Politics Home to mark the day, which follows the announcement made at the United Nations General Assembly that the UK will double its development spending on modern slavery to £150 million.
This will enable more work in collaboration with source and transit countries to clamp down on this barbaric crime.
New estimates suggest that around 46 million people were victims of slavery on any given day in 2016, across all regions of the world. The Prime Minister has called modern slavery one of the biggest human rights challenges of our time, and the UK is taking a leading global role to end this scourge.
Speaking on UK Anti-Slavery Day, International Development Secretary, Ms Patel, said:
The UK is leading the way in tackling the scourge of modern slavery on behalf of some of the most victimised, brutalised, and exploited people in the world. I recently met young female victims of trafficking at a safe house in Nigeria and heart-breaking testimonies like theirs vividly demonstrate that this evil crime needs to be eradicated.
Anti-Slavery Day provides a wake-up call to anyone who thought slavery had been consigned to the history books. We have doubled our spending on trying to wipe out modern slavery. We want to clamp down on this barbaric trade which destroys the lives of more than 46 million innocent victims worldwide, and too often reaches our shores.
It is absolutely right that in both the UK and beyond, we are stepping up our efforts. We will not accept a world where human beings are bought and sold.
DFID is working to end slavery by:
- Tackling modern slavery in countries that are sources of slavery into the UK. For example, working in Nigeria to provide alternative jobs and livelihoods for potential victims of modern slavery, including support to help survivors reintegrate into society and to protect them from re-trafficking.
- Building close partnerships with countries that have higher levels of modern slavery where a significant difference can be made to drive down numbers. DFID has a strong presence and partnership with governments of countries like Bangladesh and Nepal.
- Pushing the international system to take meaningful action by driving change with organisations such as G7, G20 and the UN. At this year’s UN General Assembly, our Prime Minister launched the “Call to Action to end Forced Labour, Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking”, which sets out specific commitments to address modern slavery at the national and international level, and has been endorsed by 37 countries so far, including Nigeria, China, Saudi Arabia and Brazil.
We are achieving this through programmes such as:
The Work in Freedom programme, which aims to help women facing slavery and exploitation through training and working with businesses to reduce trafficking. To date the programme has reached over 380,000 women.
The Regional Women and Girls Protection Programme operating in Greece and the Balkans, protecting girl and women refugees by providing shelters and strengthening national counter-trafficking mechanisms.
The Responsible, Accountable and Transparent Enterprise (RATE) which collaborates with business, global initiatives and DFID country offices to spread responsible business approaches, including tackling modern slavery. This programme has recently expanded to build on its efforts remove modern slavery from business’ supply chains.
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