By Caroline Barnard – member at Everyday Southfields and Communications Officer for The Clewer Initiative.
It’s Lent, the time of year when we give up our favourite treats, snacks, or activities for forty days, testing our self-discipline and resolve.
This Lent I’m taking part in something different. Instead of giving up my favourite treats, I’m trying to give up slavery.
Slavery is an illegal business, the world’s second most profitable after drug trafficking, but the goods that slaves make and the services they provide can be found on our high streets. We drink coffee without knowing who grew the beans, we wear clothes without knowing who sewed them together, and we get our cars washed for a fiver without knowing whether the people cleaning them are being paid fairly.
Slavery is a hidden crime, but it is possible to open our eyes to the injustice going on around us. Over the course of Lent, each week the #GiveUpSlavery challenge introduces me to one industry that is touched by slavery. There’s a story to read or watch and simple actions to take in response. In the first three weeks I’ve already had great conversations with friends about which supermarket we go to, and realised I would have to give up my favourite coffee shop!
I’m filming a weekly video blog to share how I am finding the challenge, you can see all of the videos so far here [link: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLkaqIn7jUismckBd9FeUv_e3BQL8iywcj]. The latest one [link: https://youtu.be/kY3a4xYLjU4 ] gives you a quick rundown on Modern Slavery Statements; what they are and how to read them. Or go here [link: www.theclewerinitiative.org/lent] to find out more about the challenge and sign yourself up.
It’s not too late to take up the challenge and make a big difference to the lives of people who are living under the darkness of modern day slavery.