Published in The Huffington Post on Wednesday, 21st December, 2011.
On 10 December 1948 the United Nations declared “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” Last week marked the 63rd anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Forged out of the ashes of the Second World War, the Declaration set out inalienable human rights based upon the pillars of justice, dignity and equality.
Article Four of the Declaration states “no one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.” Despite this, human trafficking, the modern day version of the slave trade, is flourishing.
The United Nations estimates that 12 million people around the world are enslaved and at least 600,000 men, women and children are trafficked across international borders each year. Academics such as Kevin Bale claim that real number of people who are enslaved is likely to be closer to 30 million. This includes thousands of people in the United Kingdom.