Slavery and trafficking are unavoidably connected to Jewish experience. As stated by the Chief Rabbi, “speaking out against the flagrant violations of human dignity implicit in this crime, should be in our [the Jewish community’s] DNA”.
— The Jewish Chronicle (@JewishChron) December 7, 2017
Today, on Anti-Slavery day, we are reminded that enslavement is not consigned to history. There are currently an estimated 40.3 million people in modern slavery around the world.
Modern slavery exists in many forms – including forced labour, forced marriage and human trafficking. Although it is illegal in most countries where it is practised, there are more enslaved people in the world today than at any point in history. The Home Office estimates that 13,000 people in the UK are victims of slavery or trafficking. The number estimated by civil society organisations is close to 100,00.
As a result of the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015, the number of identified victims has risen by 40% and there have been more prosecutions for slavery related offences. However, the first Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner stated that there are still “too many gaps in the system for victims to fall through”.
In our recent submission to the Home Affairs Committee, we urged the government to ensure that victim’s welfare is at the forefront of immigration policy, and place greater responsibility on businesses to tackle the issue within their own supply chains.
Mia Hasenson-Gross, Director of René Cassin stated:
“Article 4 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Co-drafted by our namesake René Cassin, prohibits all forms of slavery. I am proud of the steps that the Jewish community is taking to address modern slavery and ensure that the legacy of the UDHR is upheld”.
Today we reiterate our stand against modern slavery and challenge the government to do more to address what Prime Minister Theresa May described as the “great human rights issue of our time”.