Not for Sale: Premier launches anti-slavery campaign
Premier Christian Media has this week launched a new anti-slavery campaign.
The 'Not for Sale' campaign hopes to put an end to modern day slavery in the UK by encouraging MPs to support the Modern Slavery Bill that is scheduled to go before Parliament in May.
The slavery and human trafficking trade is currently worth at least $32bn each year, and is rapidly growing. EU estimates suggest there are almost 900,000 people forced to work in slave labour conditions in Europe, a significant number of them in Britain.
"It's an uncomfortable fact that modern day slavery is alive and flourishing here in the UK," says Premier chief executive Peter Kerridge.
His comments echo those of Christian Guy, director of the Centre for Social Justice, who said: "Slavery is not a scar on the face of Britain, it is an open wound".
While in the days of William Wilberforce 200 years ago slavery was out in the open, today it is far more difficult to identify.
A report written by an evidence review committee led by Labour MP Frank Field notes that "victims of modern slavery are hidden in plain sight, often trapped by forces more subtle than lock and key".
Premier asserts that the issue is so prevalent in this country that each one of us is likely to have come into contact with a victim, even without realising it.
"It can take place in any postcode, from a quiet suburban cul-de-sac to a busy high street ... It is so widespread that it is likely to be taking place less than two miles from your church building," it said.
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Field has labelled the fight to end modern day slavery as a "huge historical opportunity" for PM David Cameron, and has declared that Britain is "on the cusp of a great historical advance".
Campaigners are keen that the UK Government lead the way in creating a world-breaking anti-slavery bill that increases the identification and protection of victims, the prosecution of those that hold them captive and the support available for slaves following their escape or release.
Premier's petition hopes to demonstrate that Christians across the UK are passionate about seeing this become a reality.
"Our prayer is that both individuals and church groups will take this important issue to heart and support the Premier initiative," said Kerridge.
"We can stop it if we act together."
The petition is available to sign at www.premier.org.uk/notforsale, and has also been published in Premier's 'Voice of Hope' magazine. Premier is also set to release a list of "tell-tale signs" that could help people to recognise and identify victims of modern slavery.
"Modern day slavery takes many forms, all of which result in human misery. Revelations that children are being transported and used by gangs for street crime and to collect child benefits and social security payments confirm that children are a prime target," Kerridge continued.
"It's important that the Modern Day Slavery Bill receives maximum public support and we urge everyone to sign our on-line petition."