Child Slavery in the UK, today


25 October 2011. If you think child slavery ended years ago, then you should have come to this Swansea University event. Held as part of Black History month on 24 October, former child slave Jean-Robert Cadet met with people concerned about this continuing injustice.

"The purpose of this song is to raise awareness and to bring the plight of children in domestic slavery to the open," said the childrens' rights advocate referring to the song in the video, written for his 'Restavek' foundation by a Haitian poet. "We wanted a song to let people see what's going on, to open their minds"

Although Mr. Cadet's work focuses on child slavery in Haiti, in the event he stressed that, "The most important message is that child slavery has become epidemic, it exists throughout the world.

"I think awareness should be raised in the UK especially in the form of curriculum for elementary school children, so they become sensitised to the issue and then they'll be able to discover if it's going on and what to do about it," he continued, stressing that everyone has the potential and the ability to do something if confronted with child slavery.

Prof. Heaven Crawley, director of the Centre for Migration Policy Research (CMPR) at Swansea University, commented: "The things that are happening in the UK are not dissimilar to the things that are happening in Haiti. It's just that these children are hidden from public view. They're not part of our everyday knowledge because we don't see these kids, they're not on the streets in the same way as Haiti. But nonetheless they are in the UK from different countries, from West Africa in particular.

"We need to find ways to raise awareness about that group of children as well as about children living in Haiti.

Follow up research on the area of child slavery in the UK is part of Prof. Crawley's plans, "We are going to explore the kinds of things that children who are trafficked to the UK have experienced on their journey to the UK and during their time here".



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