18th October marks UK Anti-Slavery Day

Anti-Slavery Day 2012

Since 2010, the 18th October has marked Anti-Slavery Day, creating the perfect opportunity for businesses, governments and individuals to reflect on how they may contribute towards the prevention of human trafficking and modern-day slavery.

This year’s awards and events prove the momentum the issue has gained in recent years, with the government, business leaders and the press taking an active role in the prevention of human trafficking through legislation, training and awareness raising.  However, there is still a huge amount to be done.

Anthony Steen, Chairman of the Human Trafficking Foundation, said ‘The Human Trafficking Foundation Media Awards were introduced last year as a way of highlighting the tremendous work those in the media do to shed light on this evil trade in human lives. The media’s work is invaluable in helping to raise awareness of modern day slavery, which is more prevalent now than when it was ‘abolished’ by William Wilberforce 200 years ago. Recent figures released by SOCA (Serious Organised Crime Agency) show a worrying trend: the number of ‘home grown’ British victims of trafficking has risen, and last year saw the first reported cases of trafficking for organ harvesting’.

This week a programme of events is being held around the UK to mark Anti-Slavery Day – enshrined in law by Act of Parliament: -

-          A two-day Parliamentary conference, opened by Foreign Secretary Rt Hon William Hague, bringing together leading Parliamentarians from National Parliaments across the EU to agree a plan of action to tackle modern-day slavery

-          An inaugural meeting hosted by the Romanian Ambassador for all EU Member State Embassies in London to discuss with UK police and NGOs how they can better share information on human trafficking so that more accurate data is available to help fight trafficking and assist victims

There will also be a wider programme of talks, seminars, arts shows and film screenings across the country to mark the occasion.

In addition, as a result of a campaign led by the Human Trafficking Foundation and Members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Human Trafficking, 10 Ministers from the Government’s Inter-Departmental Group on Human Trafficking will be marking Anti-Slavery Day by initiating or attending a number of events.

Human trafficking is undeniably an issue that affects the hotel industry, which by its very nature deals with the movement of people around the globe. Victims may be guests who are trafficked for sex, agency staff, or workers in construction or other suppliers who are in situations of forced labour.  The International Tourism Partnership’s (ITP) working group on human trafficking is committed to raising awareness of these issues and enabling members to share best practice. Complementing this work, ITP’s Youth Career Initiative is piloting a programme to re-integrate the survivors of trafficking into the legitimate workforce through participation in its 6 month education and training programme in hotels.  The need to train staff, raise awareness and implement procedures to ensure the prevention of human trafficking remains at the forefront of the industry’s mind. ITP continues to engage with the issue and with those working on it. To this effect, later today ITP’s Fran Hughes will be attending a UK government roundtable on human trafficking and the UK hotel industry, and Stephen Farrant will be at a parliamentary reception ahead of the second reading of the Transparency in UK Company Supply Chains (Eradication of Slavery) Bill.

For more information about the events coming up see www.antislaveryday.com

Green Hotelier has identified the following resources for hoteliers looking for more guidance: Online training from the UN and Staff Wanted Initiative Leaflet

See also the International Tourism Partnership’s statement on human trafficking

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