Anti-slavery protests held on Cornmarket

first_imgOxford Against Slavery launched a video campaign in the centre of Oxford this week to raise awareness of modern slavery. Oxford Against Slavery is a new student-run campaign aiming to strengthen the Modern Slavery Bill, which is currently going through Parliament.The video campaign, organised by Frances Godfrey, took place on Cornmarket and was, according to the event’s Facebook page, “an interactive attempt to raise awareness in Oxford about modern slavery and to determine public perception of the issue.”Passers-by were asked to be filmed taking part in a word association game that led to a more general interview about their awareness of modern slavery. The video will be posted on social media sites such as YouTube and Oxford Against Slavery’s Facebook page.The bill currently passing through Parliament will introduce tougher sentences for traffickers and establishe an Anti-Slavery Commissioner. It also contains provisions to direct some of the money seized from traffickers towards supporting their victims and shall oblige large UK-based companies to release annual statements on the steps they have taken to ensure that slavery is not taking place in their supply chains.However, the bill has been criticised for failing to focus on the needs of victims of trafficking. The Anti-Trafficking Monitoring Group has produced an alternative version, which stresses that comprehensive victim protection measures are vital.The campaign was co-founded by Natasha Stotesbury from Merton and Charlie Bishop from Wadham.Stotesbury said, “Charlie and I became inspired to help strengthen the Modern Slavery Bill over the summer after working on a human trafficking research project with the OxPolicy society, learning about the bill through meetings with NGOs and visiting the House of Commons during the bill’s Committee stage.“We are also delighted to have the support of the Oxford Hub’s Rights and Development Team, who are organising a film screening of Not My Life, an award-winning film about modern slavery. We are producing a report and hope to take our campaign to Parliament in the very near future.”An Oxford Against Slavery spokesperson remarked, “We are especially concerned that the bill is deficient in providing care for victims. We believe the bill as it stands fails to support victims properly, leaving them vulnerable to further exploitation. In particular, we have focused our campaign on the role of the Anti-Slavery Commissioner, which we believe should be expanded to include victim support.”Walk Free’s 2014 Global Slavery Index estimates that there are 8,300 victims of modern slavery in the UK, although figures are likely to be higher than reported. Between 2012 and 2013 there was a 47 per cent increase in the number of victims of modern slavery reported in the UK.Frances Godfrey, organizer of the video, stated that she felt the “student-led video campaign had been a successful event in raising the issue of modern slavery.”last_img

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