An exhibition exploring the Welsh involvement in the slave trade, ‘Everywhere in Chains: Wales and Slavery’, was held at the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea (2007) celebrating what was described as 200th anniversary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act in 1807

Slavery did not end with abolition in the 19th century. Instead, it just changed its format and continues to constitute significant and on-going harm to vulnerable people across the world. It also remains stubbornly determined throughout the UK, including here in Wales.

It is women forced into prostitution, men and women working as forced labour in car washes, nail-bars, agriculture, construction or domestic servitude, children trafficked for sexual exploitation and girls forced to marry older men; young lives controlled by their exploiters with no free choice, doing as they’re told.

As I sit at my desk, in a comfortable office, I wonder what it might feel like to be denied all my human rights. I can choose what I do. I feel respected and have self-respect. I have a future that feels in my control or at least I have a vote in a democracy. I am clean and I am warm, and I know where my next meal is coming from.

I am not complacent and I realise that some of my human rights could be removed, but only with due legal process. A process which finds its origins, as far back as the Magna Carta 1215, or more recently through the European Court of Human Rights and the Equality Act 2010.

I can’t imagine what it might feel like to have no rights, no support, no home, no money and exploited every minute of every day, living in fear and invisible to the world about me, but I do try!

Slavery didn’t end in the 19th Century and it continues today thriving and prospering. Human trafficking is a source of untapped riches for organised crime groups preying on the most vulnerable in our society.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said "On this World Day against Trafficking in Persons, let us reaffirm our commitment to stop criminals from ruthlessly exploiting people for profit and to help victims rebuild their lives."

Modern slavery is a complex and a hidden crime that crosses borders, sectors and jurisdictions. In 2016, there were an estimated 11,700 victims of slavery in Britain alone, with millions more forced into unacceptable working conditions in the global supply chains of UK businesses. We are, in Practice Solutions, committed to raising awareness of this issue and doing all we can to challenge modern slavery wherever possible.

Gabe Conlon
Practice Solutions