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Modern-day slavery in the spotlight at University of Hull conference

The first-ever Wilberforce World Freedom Summit takes place at the University of Hull on the 28 and 29 September with prominent speakers from business, public sector and government coming together to help tackle modern-day slavery.

Though often considered an issue of the past, slavery continues to exist in modern society with forced labour existing in the domestic, agricultural, sex, construction and retail industries to name but a few. The International Labour Organisation estimates that there are at least 40 million victims of slavery in the world today. That figure includes 13,000 in the UK.

The Wilberforce Freedom Summit will explore a spectrum of slavery related issues – from retail to organised crime – and their links with slavery. The role of corporate social responsibility in tackling modern day slavery will be discussed by business leaders from ARCO, the Co-Op Group and the University’s Christina Talens, who works with leading retailers to help them identify and eliminate slavery in their supply chains.

Delegates will hear from high-profile speakers from government, the police force and the Trades Union Congress. Legal solutions and ways to help slavery survivors restore their lives will also be investigated.

 Keynote addresses will be delivered by Aidan McQuade, the Director of Anti-Slavery International, and Independent Antislavery Commissioner, Kevin Hyland OBE.  Delegates will also hear a special address from His Excellency John Agyekum Kufuor, the former President of Ghana. Returning 10 years after officially opening the University’s Wilberforce Institute  – which is one of the world’s leading research centres working towards the end of labour exploitation and slavery – Mr Kufour will deliver a keynote speech on Africa’s freedom journey.

With the theme ‘Eradicating Contemporary Slavery’ the summit takes place as part of Hull’s UK City of Culture as the Freedom season draws to a close.

Held in the home town of the pioneering MP William Wilberforce – who dedicated most of his life to the movement to abolish the slave trade in the 19th century – the summit will focus on contemporary slavery in its many different forms and explore ways to tackle this global human rights challenge.

Our city continues to pioneer the fight for freedom and the summit promises to be a landmark event that will have important implications for academics, policymakers and activists alike. Professor John Oldfield, Director of the Wilberforce Institute

Professor John Oldfield, Director of the Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation at the University of Hull said: “2017 marks the 210th anniversary of the British Slave Trade Abolition Act, a piece of legislation that will be forever associated with the name of William Wilberforce, one of Hull’s own sons. It is fitting, therefore, that in this special year we host the first Wilberforce World Freedom Summit.

“Hull is quite rightly proud of having been central to an abolition movement once before. But it is clear that there is still a critical amount of work still to be done to increase widespread awareness of what is happening all around us. Our city continues to pioneer the fight for freedom and the summit promises to be a landmark event that will have important implications for academics, policymakers and activists alike.”

The event is free but booking is essential. Visit www.culturenet.co.uk  for further details or book directly at www.eventbrite.co.uk .

The summit is hosted and organised by the University of Hull’s Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation and held in association with the Humber Modern Slavery Partnership, Hull Children’s University and the Freedom Festival.  

The summit takes place at the Wilberforce Institute for Slavery and Emancipation, 27 High St, Hull HU1 1NE.

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