An estimated 13,000 people are being held captive in modern slavery in the UK. By the time you finish reading this, another two people will have become victims of slavery somewhere in the world.
These people are coerced into forced or bonded labour, domestic servitude, prostitution, forced marriages and even child slavery. They are imprisoned, beaten, violated, threatened, blackmailed and denied their basic human rights on a daily basis. It’s happening now, in the most ordinary and nondescript of houses or buildings. It could be on your street.
This horrifying situation is at the centre of a week-long exhibition entitled Back to Life by charity Migrant Help UK, touring the UK’s mainline railway stations in October and coinciding with national Anti-Slavery Day on Tuesday, 18 October.
Back to Life features real-life case studies of people rescued from towns and cities across Britain and highlights the work the charity does in helping rescued people recover from their ordeals.
The exhibition will be on show at London’s Victoria Station on Monday 17 October. It will move to Bristol Temple Meads station on Anti-Slavery Day, Tuesday (18); Birmingham New Street station on Wednesday (19); Liverpool Lime Street station on Thursday (20) and Edinburgh Waverley station on Friday (21).
Migrant Help UK Chief Executive, Catherine Johnstone CBE, said: “This is a cruel and inhumane trade in people. By sharing the stories of the individuals affected by trafficking and slavery we will be highlighting the extent of the problem. Organisations like Migrant Help UK are here to support victims rescued from slavery every day, but public awareness is key in our continuing fight.”
Mr Hyland said: “Far from being something confined to the history books or cinema screens, there are more slaves in the world today than at any point in history. The evil of exploitation is extensive, yet many people don’t even realise it is happening. We urgently need this to change. The public play an immensely important role in identifying victims of modern slavery, and this is why Migrant Help UK’s exhibition is so key in highlighting this horrific crime.”
Migrant Help UK is the largest UK-wide charity, helping migrants, asylum seekers and refugees. It has specialist teams who provide vital support every day to those rescued from trafficking and slavery.
In any one week they are helping up to 100 individuals to recover from the traumatic experience of being trafficked or enslaved across the UK.
The exhibition will be on show at each station from 6am to 7pm. Staff from Migrant Help UK will be on hand to answer questions and explain how people can get involved in the fight against modern slavery in the UK and abroad.
A dedicated website, www.backtolife.org.uk, will also feature the exhibition alongside more details on what the authorities and Migrant Help UK are doing to tackle the problem.
The charity is also producing a set of lesson plans for schools to help students understand the issues surrounding modern slavery and human trafficking.
Press: The exhibition will be officially launched by the UK’s Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, Kevin Hyland, at a press conference in London on Monday 17 October. There will also be a press conference in Edinburgh on Friday 21 October. For more details please contact the press office on 01304 806749.