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Slavery yesterday and today

It was interesting to hear Melvyn Bragg on the radio talking about slavery. He made the point that while we know now that slavery is a very bad thing, it was once accepted as normal all over the world and it was a revolutionary act to abolish it. It required thinking the unthinkable and thinking outside the box. Wilberforce has been given much credit for this, although sometimes the driving force, his Christian faith, is overlooked. And, while Wilberforce was indispensable in the House of Commons, he was supported by a network of other Christians all working toward the same goal. The story that Catherine unfolds in the Fellowship involves so many different players it has been a revelation to me. Eventually all of Britain was involved in the movement. A revolution in thinking had occurred.

Brits are celebrating their role in ending of the slave-trade in 1807, but according to the Independent, Britain's open-door immigration policy has allowed a 21st century slave-trade to infiltrate Britain. A report published by social research charity the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) says 5,000 children and young people have been sold into sexual slavery, domestic servitude and enforced labour, and most are girls. Threats of violence against their families who live abroad guarantee their silence.

A special police unit dedicated to combatting trafficking, the United Kingdom Human Trafficking Centre, has been established. But it seems to me that much more has to be done. And first of all another revolution in thinking has got to occur. I think it can.

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