Students Staff

9 August 2019

Southend mural raises awareness of modern slavery

Filed under: Latest news, People pages, Research impact — Communications, CER @ 10:46 am

Dr Stephen Jordan of our Centre for Social Work, has worked with SAMS Southend Against Modern Slavery Partnership to create a new mural in Southend highlighting the continued problem of slavery in our society. 

Where is the mural located?

The mural is under the railway bridge on Southend High Street.

Who painted it?

The artist was Nik Vaughn, who has created other murals, and he was also helped by members of Project 49, a community based organisation providing services for adults with learning disabilities, who helped in the painting and preparation.

What is the message the mural would like people to understand?

Sadly slavery did not disappear when it was officially abolished by parliament in 1833. Trafficking is often the means by which people end up in situations of slavery. People are trafficked by force, fraud, coercion or deception with the aim of exploiting them and it is estimated that tens of thousands of people have been trafficked to the UK, as well as vulnerable people, already resident in the UK, who have been exploited and forced to live effectively as slaves. Modern day slavery exists in the form of people who are used for forced labour in industries such as agriculture, construction, hospitality, illegal drug production, nail bars and car washes. Many women and girls are trafficked for sexual exploitation.

Why is it important to raise awareness of modern slavery today?

Modern day slavery is a hidden crime and remains as one of the greatest evils of our time. By raising awareness through campaigns such as ours in Southend can we can start to help people recognise the signs of modern day slavery and reach out to the people who are victims.

What is the connection to the human rights work/social care research of the University?

The University held a conference last year on 12 December as part of our work with the Southend Against Modern Slavery Partnership. Social work has a long and proud history of safeguarding and challenging the abuse of children and vulnerable adults. Modern slavery is an issue of national importance. One example of modern slavery is that children’s care homes have been ‘actively targeted’ to coerce vulnerable children into becoming drug mules or for sexual exploitation. Many children are trafficked into the UK and there are a significant number of British nationals affected by modern slavery.

The project was featured in an article in the Evening Echo

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