Modern-day Slavery

‘It is ironic that 200 years since the abolition of slavery, there are more slaves than there ever have been, just in a different form.’ Nick Broomfield, director of Ghosts, the 2007 film about Chinese cockle-pickers.

It has been estimated recently that as many as 20 million people are in some form of human bondage somewhere in the world. These include millions of women and children as well as adult men. Some of them are in Britain. They are taken from their homes by people-traffickers, just as in the 18 and 19 century people were taken from their homes by the slave traders and their suppliers.

They are held in appalling conditions. They are made to work by their gang-masters anywhere where employers want cheap labour and have no concern about human welfare. Their passports are taken away from them so that, even if they escape, they cannot make their way back home. Some in Britain work for as many as 70 hours a week for as little as £1 50p an hour.

In 2006 the UK Centre for Human Trafficking was set up in Sheffield in an attempt to bring trafficking to an end in Britain.

Return to the Slavery index page