A study of 2,000 Brits commissioned to mark the DVD release of 12 Years a Slave found that less than a third of people are aware of key dates in Britain’s slavery history.
Dates such as when the British government abolished the slave trade in Britain were known by only 41% of respondents, while only 19% were aware that it became an offence to hold someone in slavery or servitude in the UK as recent as 2009.
Jakub Sobik for Anti Slavery International said: “Slavery is still an ever present and on-going issue in today’s society that we’re constantly striving to tackle.”
When asked where the majority of their knowledge of slavery came from, more than one in three people cited TV programmes and films, followed by school/education and books.
A quarter of Brits said they were only aware of names/events in slavery because of a TV programme or film, while 73% of people have learnt something about slavery from a TV programme or film.
The TV programmes and films that respondents said had taught them the most about slavery were Roots, Spartacus, Gone with the Wind, 12 Years a Slave and Django Unchained.
Nine in ten people were unaware that along with Saudi Arabia, Oman, UAE, Jordan and Lebanon, the UK is one of the countries that prohibits migrant domestic workers on an Overseas Domestic Visa from changing their employers even if they are abused by their employers.
Despite widespread reporting that there are currently 21 million people in forced labour or slavery across the world (according to 2012 International Labour Organisation figures), less than a quarter of people were aware of this number, while 9% of people believe there are only 2.1 million people in forced labour or slavery.
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