UK and Sierra Leone collaborate to curb Modern Slavery


July 9, 2018


Slavery still exists, even in the UK. On arriving Heathrow airport one is greeted by a large photo of a migrant worker with the bold caption: ‘‘Slavery still exists. If you suspect it, report.’’

The UK government and its partners are currently engaged in the fight against modern slavery, human trafficking and child labour in Sierra Leone. On Saturday, the UK in Sierra Leone, in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, promoted the ‘Open Your Eyes’ project at the British Council auditorium at Tower Hill in Freetown.

The initiative is a pilot phase which aims to raise awareness amongst school communities in the Western Area (Urban and Rural) that child labour and trafficking is going on in the country and it is the responsibility of everyone to take step to end such practices.

This initial phase involved six schools and communities in Freetown and the Waterloo environs with over 300 participants. The participants used street art and songs in English, Krio and Temne that will later be developed and extended to other parts of the country and other local languages. Participants included Junior Secondary School pupils from Freetown Secondary School for Girls (FSSG) and St.
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Joseph’s Convent, teachers, PTA representatives, parents, community leaders as well as key stakeholders tackling child labour and human trafficking including representatives from the Sierra Leone Police, Local and International NGOs and the Government of Sierra Leone.

Head of the British Council in Sierra Leone Simon Ingram-Hill said:

‘‘There are many ways to raise awareness and help open our eyes to the risks of child labour and trafficking. We have chosen to use music, and street art to get the message across in a vivid and memorable way, providing an opportunity for everyone to share their experience and voice their ideas for action.’’