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Slavery Today
Slave labour built and sustained the ancient empires of Greece, Egypt and Rome and this harsh and dehumanising way of life has continued through to modern times.

During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, for example, thousands of fishermen, sailors and coastal villagers from South West Britain were captured by privateers to work as galley slaves or to be sold in the slave markets of North Africa. In Russia, much of the land was worked by agricultural slaves, known as serfs, until the late-nineteenth century. In World War Two, millions of enslaved people were used by Hitler’s Nazis to manufacture armaments and vehicles, construct fortifications and roads and otherwise maintain the German war machine.

In 1839 the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society was established. This organisation has become Anti-Slavery International. With the slogan ‘today’s fight for tomorrow’s freedom’, it campaigns against forms of slavery that include:

Bonded labour in South Asia in which a person sells his or her labour to pay off a loan and becomes trapped in a cycle of debt.
Child domestic workers in the Philippines, some as young as eight, who are frequently subjected to physical, verbal and sexual abuse.
Trafficking in Brazil, where people are lured to remote estates in the Amazonia region and threatened with violence unless they work to pay off the debt of their transport, accommodation and food.
Forced labour in Sudan and Burma where people are compelled to work under the threat of violence and other punishments.
Descent-based slavery in Niger in which people are born into a slave class.

Those subjected to modern-day slavery are often from minority groups and are among the poorest and most vulnerable in society. Slavery is technically illegal in most of the countries where it is practised.

Like the abolitionists who successfully campaigned against the Transatlantic Slave Trade, Anti-Slavery International uses petitions, declarations, legal and Parliamentary avenues, publicity material, personal testimonies, publications, consumer boycotts and public meetings to support its work.

To join the fight against slavery, sign the declaration on the Anti-Slavery International website.

  Campaign poster from Anti-Slavery International.

Campaign poster from Anti-Slavery International.