|PIC1|The movie is based on the life of anti-slavery pioneer William Wilberforce, and is an inspiration which sets us up terrifically for the current issue which plagues our society even today. And even a simple glance at the issue reveals that Wilberforce's work to rid society of slavery is far from finished.
Probably the most startling statistic is the estimated 27 million slaves still in the world today. These slaves come in varied forms, and may be very different from the slaves in the days of Wilberforce. But they are slaves nonetheless.
Millions across the globe are bonded into slavery with men, women and children toiling on plantations. Then there is the deplorable and prevalent trade in humans to serve as sex slaves.
Let's look at the statistics: an estimated 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders each year; approximately 50 per cent of all victims are children; 126 million children work in the worst forms of child labour - one in every 12 of the world's five- to seventeen-year-olds; there are an estimated 300,000 child soldiers involved in over 30 areas of conflict worldwide, some younger than 10 years old.
These people have no choice over the course of their lives, no rights, and are often beaten, abused and threatened with violence. Slavery is flourishing in many parts of the world and it is every bit as ugly as it was 200 years ago.
The deplorable facts remind us of our obligation as human beings to put a stop to this evil. As we approach the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the British slave trade, many campaigns are underway to bring the issue of modern day slavery to the public's attention. So much so that as the statistics are revealed to us, Wilberforce's words are echoed to us today:
"You may choose to look the other way but you can never again say you did not know."
These were Wilberforce's comments to the House of Parliament prior to its members voting on his Abolition Bill in 1789.
Eighteen years later, in 1807, the British slave trade was abolished. Let us not allow so many years to pass before we face the facts on modern slavery and stand up together to take action to free those still in bondage today.
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