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Modern slavery is one of the first social injustice issues we looked into and our first premiere coincided with Oxford’s Bullfinch investigation into sexual abuse. Over time, we developed a production that looked into several issues; domestic servitude, sex trafficking and forced labour. Our research brought some horrifying statistics to light. 

  • There are more people enslaved today than at any time in history, 40.3 million victims worldwide (2016-Global Slavery Index)
  • It happens in 167 countries in the world (2016-Global Slavery Index)
  • Annual profits are estimated at $32 billion from human trafficking and $150 billion from forced labour (2014-ILO)
  • Human trafficking is the 3rd largest illegal business behind counterfeiting and drug trafficking (2014-ILO)
  • The UK’s National Crime Agency’s National Referral Mechanism (NRM) recorded victims from 116 countries including the UK in 2019
  • Over 10,000 potential victims were recorded in 2019 (NRM)
  • It is the most vulnerable who become victims
  • Modern slavery exists in most food and manufacturing supply chains (Anti-Slavery)

Case Studies

We have made two productions that relate to modern slavery. BOUND is set in and around a hotel and explores the exploitation of domestic, construction and sex workers. ON EDGE takes place on a building site, its focus is on forced labour in the construction industry.

We had support and insights about the exploitation of workers in the hotel industry from SHIVA Foundation who have been working to promote anti-slavery in hospitality organisations. Case studies of victims came from Hope for Justice, The Salvation Army, Medaille Trust and Unseen, all of which have programmes for supporting victims of slavery. During rehearsals we heard presentations from the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority about the methods perpetrators used, further explored with the Chartered Institute of Building who are working to completely eradicate modern slavery from the construction industry and Staffline who shared information about recruitment practices and investigations.

 

Definitions

The term ‘modern slavery’ covers a range of situations in which the exploitation of others occur. People can be manipulated into acting against their will, by perpetrators who may threaten to cause harm. Click on the buttons below to read about the differences between commonly used methods of coercion.

“Very powerful, very raw”

“Amazing work. Very powerful very raw. Using the elements and subtle movement to tell an important story.”

 

audience member about BOUND

“Heart touching”

“Heart touching, easily understood and brilliant way to raise awareness to most ages” 

Nicky Emille about ON EDGE

“Plain, simple, honest truth”

“Plain, simple, honest truth on how it feels to be singled out, objectified, defeated, excluded from society.”

 

audience member about ON EDGE

“Theatre could reach part of me that realities couldn’t”

“as I sat there watching the story unfold, I had time and space to allow my subconscious to receive through the art. The physical theatre could reach part of me that the realities and facts of real life couldn’t.”

Helen Whitwell (Press Red Conference)