Background to Anti-Slavery Day

In December 2009, the Anti-Slavery Day Bill was introduced in Parliament as a Private Members’ Bill by the then Conservative MP Anthony Steen, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Trafficking of Women and Children (now the APPG on Human Trafficking). ECPAT UK helped to draft the Bill and promote it amongst parliamentarians.

The Bill passed through all its stages in the House of Commons and the House of Lords quickly and gained Royal Assent on 8 April 2010, becoming law as the Anti-Slavery Day Act 2010. In July that year, the Prime Minister, David Cameron MP, announced that Anti-Slavery Day would fall on 18 October every year. This date coincides with the European Union’s Anti-Trafficking Day.

Aim of Anti-Slavery Day

The aim of Anti-Slavery Day is for people in the UK to acknowledge that, despite the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade more than 200 years ago, men, women and children continue to be victims of the modern-day slave trade. The day helps to raise awareness of the dangers of modern-day slavery, including human trafficking and exploitation, and encourages people to be proactive in the fight against it.

ECPAT UK believes that Anti-Slavery Day provides a great opportunity to shine a light on a largely hidden and brutal crime of human trafficking being committed against children in the UK and overseas today.