In the third blog of our series written by our graduate interns, we catch up with Gabrielle Phillips, who has just completed her internship supporting Andrew Smith and the Modern Slavery Team.
Over the last few months I have been at the Wilberforce Institute as a Modern Slavery intern. As an undergraduate student at the University of Hull I had studied Criminology and Sociology. I was always interested in the increase of fast fashion due to technological advancement and of the opportunities this has created for people to be exploited; I developed my interest in the subject when I took an optional undergraduate module called ‘Modern Slavery in the UK’.
One of the tasks I completed as Wilberforce Intern that I am most proud of is a campaign for Anti-Slavery Day, which I worked on with Tanira Bhatti, a fellow intern. We thought it was important to raise awareness of the issue of Modern Slavery via public engagement. We arranged to host an information stand at the University of Hull Student Union building to ask students and staff, ‘What does freedom mean to you?’ Contributions included:
‘The ability to live a safe life free of hate and intolerance regardless of disability, age, race, religion and gender.’
Emma Hardy (the MP for Hull) also spoke on the matter and said that ‘To me freedom is being able to speak freely to express a thought or opinion. It is having the right to disagree and communicate, without censorship or judgement.’
More of the answers to 'What does freedom mean to you?' will be made available in an exhibition at the Wilberforce Institute in the coming months.
We also asked that people write an Anti-Slavery pledge. These ranged from learning to spot the signs of Modern Slavery to considering the implications of fast fashion and shopping for second hand goods more often.
To spread the word about the event, I gave shout-outs in University lectures and we stuck posters around the campus. As a result of this we had roughly 75 interactions with people – a very successful outcome – and I feel honoured to have campaigned about this matter.
We also worked with Hull Museums in order to host a similar event within the Museum Quarter during half term. I found it really satisfying to have conversations with children and young people to raise awareness about modern slavery.
Much of what I have been involved with has concerned raising awareness among the general public of modern slavery. During Anti-Slavery week, I wrote a series of daily tweets for the Wilberforce Institute , raising awareness about labour exploitation, criminal and sexual exploitation, domestic servitude and organ harvesting.
I also worked with Tanira to create the ‘Freedom Trail’ on Adventure Lab, which is a platform that enables you to create a treasure hunt for the public. We decided it would be important to pick locations/ monuments that are connected with slavery and then conclude with the issue that slavery is still an issue. I am pleased to announce that this is being advertised on the ‘Visit Hull’ website.