Slavery ended, or did it?
I would like to agree with Tony Blair when UK Prime Minister who said, "The same courage and dedication that people showed to overcome the slave trade 200 years ago should be used to tackle the many forms of modern day slavery, the forced recruitment of child solders, human trafficking and bonded labour."
This evening on BBC2 Rageh Omar visited places in the world where children are working long hours for little benefit, such as a boy high in the mountains of Peru splitting rocks in the hope of finding gold; he has little choice. Rageh Omar was sensitive to the cultural differences between countries and said that we in the West might not approve but that such work for children is accepted if there is nothing better. A family in Ghana was seen selling a son to a fisherman.
Another recent programme on television had Moira Stewart exploring the history of the slave trade with visits to Jamaica, Florida and west Africa. She also went to Hull where William Wilberforce came from. In a simplistic version of history it was Wilberforce who ended the slave trade but of course it was more complicated. In Jamaica they prefer to honour the slaves who rose up against the system and paid the penalty of death.
Amnesty is asking us to debate and discuss the issues of slavery in the past and in the present day.
Update, June 2008: See Ten shocking facts about modern slavery. Slavery has not gone away although the Atlantic slave trade may have stopped many years ago.
Shocking fact number one is that there are more people in slavery now than at any other time in human history.
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.