.. and yet it’s so important for us to recognise that slavery did not end with abolition in the 19th century. Evil acts of coercion, abuse and slavery did change, but even today they continue to harm people in every country in the world. The phrase ‘the world’ can enable us to wrongly presume that modern forms of slavery aren’t a problem here on our doorstep.
Yet, City Hearts, an organisation that exists ‘…to relentlessly pursue the freedom and restoration of lives torn apart by modern slavery, crime and violence, creating projects that break the cycle of vulnerability by supporting people on their journey towards recovery and independence’ tells us that around ‘… 40.3 million people around the world are being forced into modern slavery, with an estimated 136,000 victims of modern slavery in the UK alone.’ That is a shocking statistic.
Raising Awareness of Modern Slavery
Charities Like City Hearts and Stop the Traffik have been campaigning for years to increase social consciousness about forms of modern slavery. Some of you may also have seen the harrowing BBC documentary, Sold: Sex Slaves Next Door. So as Christians, and educators, what should our response be?
On the 8th February, the Catholic Church remembers and celebrates the tragic and remarkable life of St Josephine Bakhita. Here at Ten Ten, we have created a Cinema-in-Education resource to be shared with Year 12 or Year 13 students to raise awareness about the horrors of modern slavery.
The resource is a documentary film about modern slavery and human trafficking. It is inspired by the story of St Josephine Bakhita who was taken from her home in Sudan at the age of 9 to be used brutally as a slave in the USA. After years of abuse, she was freed and forgave those who had treated her so badly. Although slavery has been criminalised in the UK since 1833, this film shows how the trade continues in modern forms. It offers practical ways in which this vile injustice can be tackled and shows Sixth Form students from a school in West London doing just that.
The film gives pupils information about the hidden world of human trafficking and offers a realistic look at the unfortunate realities that lead to the continuance of slavery today. ‘Bakhita’s Prayer’ (available to secondary schools with Life to the Full subscriptions) asserts human equality and dignity, and as such it’s an inspiring portrayal of a life lived with hope and thanksgiving. To remember St Bakhita’s Feast Day on February 8th, why not make time to watch this film with your Sixth Form pupils, and prepare for them to be inspired to take action.
St Bakhita, pray for all those caught in the traps of modern day slavery. Amen.