Half of the world’s victims of slavery live in the Commonwealth:
What can be done about it?

Host: The Rt Hon Baroness Prashar of Runnymede CBE, CEC Parliamentary Patron

While a third of the world’s population are Commonwealth citizens, according to the Global Slavery Index a staggering 55% of those currently enslaved reside in Commonwealth countries. This means that the Commonwealth is in a unique position to help significantly reduce slavery in the world.

As the statistics show, no country is exempt from the risks and incidence of modern slavery. Yet, it thrives in countries where governments fail to protect children, women and men from discrimination, exploitation and abuse, and allow businesses – however unscrupulous – to operate with impunity. All countries are bound by international law to make forced and child labour illegal.

But we should expect more of Commonwealth countries. They have subscribed to a model of democratic governance that must not only look like they take human rights seriously, but that translates their commitments into demonstrable action. Tackling modern slavery is no longer merely a human rights issue. It is a political, economic and social imperative.

Slavery is a defining problem of our age, but has obvious antecedents in our national history and psyche. Dame Sara Thornton is the UK’s first Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner. Her appointment in 2019 was an indicator of the Government’s determination to scrutinise the issue of slavery and to hold accountable those responsible for it, but, with the problem extending far beyond our own country, Dame Sara will consider how the Commonwealth can face up to the challenge in its midst. Is a tough attitude enough?

There will be a high demand for places. To avoid disappointment, please reserve your place now or email the Commonwealth for Education in the Commonwealth. 

This event is organised by the Council for Education in the Commonwealth