Hull: The pioneering city for combating slavery

Published: Tuesday 26th September 2017 by Courtney Farrow

Comments (0)

On Thursday 28 and Friday 29 September, the first ever Wilberforce World Freedom Summit is to take place at the University of Hull.

The inspiring event runs at the Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation (WISE) and will feature leading speakers from both the business and public sectors, as well as the government. Together they will discuss modern-day slavery and how to tackle it.

The venue itself is one of the world’s leading research centres working towards the end of labour exploitation and slavery.

The subject of slavery is often thought to be restricted to the pages of history textbooks. Nevertheless, the issue continues to be prominent in today’s society, especially in the domestic, construction, retail, agricultural and sex industries.

According to the International Labour Organisation, at any given time in 2016, an estimated 40.3 million people were in modern slavery, with 24.9 million in forced labour and 15.4 million in forced marriages.

Roughly 65% of those in forced labour are used for private sector work, with a further 4.8 million in forced sexual exploitation.

An unbelievable 99% of victims in the commercial sex industry are women and young girls, whilst this vulnerable group makes up 58% of the individuals in other sectors.
In total, it has been estimated that there are more than 21 million victims of slavery, with 13,000 in the UK alone.

This week’s Wilberforce Freedom Summit will explore an array of topics linked to slavery. ARCO is just one of the local businesses attending the event. The safety wear giants recently created a video explaining why addressing modern-day slavery and human trafficking is so important.

Cristina Talens, who frequently works with retailers to help them identify and eliminate slavery in their supply chains, will deliver a speech at 2:55pm on Friday. Meanwhile, representatives from government, the police force and Trades Union Congress are to discuss various topics, including workplace slavery, slavery and organised crime, and The Humber Modern Slavery Partnership.

The former President of Ghana will also return to the city, having officially opened the University’s Wilberforce Institute a decade ago. His Excellency John Kufuor will address delegates on Africa’s freedom journey.

The overriding theme for the two-day conference is Eradicating Contemporary Slavery. It arrives as the Freedom season of Hull UK City of Culture comes to an end.

The Summit is a prime example of how Hull relentlessly continues to fly the flag for freedom. Director of WISE, Professor John Oldfield, is particularly looking forward to the talks:

“This year marks the 210th anniversary of the British Slave Trade Abolition Act,” he explains, “a legislation that will be forever associated with the name of William Wilberforce, one of Hull’s own sons. It is fitting, therefore, that in this special year, we host the first Wilberforce World Freedom Summit.”

The event is organised by WISE and held in association with the Humber Modern Slavery Partnership, Hull Children’s University and Freedom Festival.

“Hull is quite rightly proud of having been central to an abolition movement once before. But it is clear that there is still a critical amount of work still to be done to increase widespread awareness of what is happening all around us,” John tells us. “Our city continues to pioneer the fight for freedom and the summit promises to be a landmark event.”

The Wilberforce World Freedom Summit is free but booking is essential. You can find more information here.

Enjoy more Hull and East Yorkshire news on HEY Today

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

Published: Tuesday 26th September 2017 by Courtney Farrow

Comments (0)

Local business search