‘Have You Heard?’ A new pilot stands up to modern slavery in the Nigerian community

A new pilot campaign has been launched to help tackle modern slavery within the Nigerian community in the UK. It focuses on helping those trapped in domestic slavery, where victims are typically kept against their will, mistreated and forced to work long hours with no pay.

The short film, developed in partnership with the Salvation Army and child protection charity AFRUCA, was launched to highlight how incidents of domestic slavery are happening under the radar in Nigerian communities across the UK, and to empower communities to report concerns confidentially and anonymously to the Modern Slavery Helpline.

There are an estimated 10,000-13,000 victims of modern slavery in the UK today.   No community is immune; we have encountered modern-day slavery in nail bars, car washes, on fishing boats and farms and in people’s homes.   Nigeria remains one of the UK’s major source countries for victims of Modern Slavery, including human trafficking.

The ‘Have You Heard?’ film, produced by award-winning Nigerian film maker Ogo Okpue, demonstrates the devastating impact of being held as a domestic slave (also known as illegal house help), and underlines the potential consequences for perpetrators and the specialist support available to victims.

Young Nigerian women are particularly at risk – one such victim is Glory*. Thirteen-year-old Glory was trafficked to the UK from Nigeria by a woman, who told her mother she could have a better life in London. In reality, she was forced to work between 6am and 9pm, and often much later. Glory was shouted at and beaten for incidents as minor as not realising her Madame had finished her cup of tea, and the frequency of the beatings increased as time went on. Sometimes her Madame’s husband would visit Glory in the night and sexually assault her[i].

Anne Read, Director of Anti-Trafficking and Modern Slavery at The Salvation Army said:

Have You Heard? brings a very hidden crime to the surface, and drives the message home that it’s the responsibility of all of us to spot the signs that someone is being kept in unfair conditions and report it. It may be a crime that happens behind closed doors, but the signs are out there – we just need to look for them and do something about it. People should feel confident that anything suspicious they report will be acted on, and anyone rescued from this kind of exploitation will receive the specialist support they need from The Salvation Army and our partners.”

To report concerns, seek advice or get help, call the confidential UK Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700, or visit the website at www.modernslaveryhelpline.org.

The Have You Heard? film is available at http://bit.ly/2nhxL0i.

 

(*Name changed to protect victim’s identity)

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