In an age when terror can strike out of the blue, without warning or reason, we are justifiably encouraged to stay on the look-out for tell-tale signs and alert the authorities if we think something suspicious is going on. Contributor Shan Saba.
To a greater or lesser extent, we have become conditioned to this state of affairs and accept it as another part of our civic duty, an obligation we owe to other members of our society in the interests of us all.
But around the world this month (October 18) another call echoed loudly, another appeal to every individual to be aware of and alert to a burgeoning blot on all current civilisations – Modern Day Slavery. It may surprise people that we even have to consider such a concept. Surely, it might reasonably be supposed, slavery was consigned to the history books in the 1800s.
However, as Anti-Slavery Day demonstrated with another effective campaign to raise awareness of the misery of human trafficking, human bondage and human misery, this is sadly not the case. In the UK alone, the Government estimates that there are tens of thousands of people in slavery, though accurate figures are, of course, hard to come by. What we do know is that more than 5,000 people were referred last year as potential victims.
This number is up one third from 2016, and 46 percent of those referred were in a situation of labour exploitation, while 34 percent were in sexual exploitation. Disturbingly, 2118 suspected child trafficking victims were reported to the UK authorities in 2017, 66 percent up on the year before. British children make up the biggest group of suspected victims, with 677 children from the UK referred to the authorities – a massive 265 percent spike.
Given these numbers, it is clearly a problem which is hiding in plain sight, but that is an even greater incentive for people to be vigilant as they go about their daily business and be ready to report suspicions straight away.