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Last Updated: Friday, 20 August, 2004, 20:20 GMT 21:20 UK
London notes its slave trade role
Undated photo of an illustrated depiction of slaves in captivity
Slave trade ships left from London
Britain's role in the slave trade will be just one issue scrutinised at the National Maritime Museum's anti-slavery festival which starts on Saturday.

As part of the event there will be presentations by maritime history experts, storytelling at the Cutty Sark and African drumming workshops.

Young people will also have the chance to discuss what slavery means to them.

The event also marks International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade, which will be held on Monday.

Millions of people today are still affected by slavery - in every country of the world - including in Britain, say slave trade activists.

But the subject is taught badly or not at all, say those behind the event.

Slavery's impact

"It's not given the same treatment as say the holocaust," Emma Clarke, community development officer of London's National Maritime Museum, told BBC News Online.

"It's quite difficult teaching it... people have difficulty relating to what was a hideous atrocity."

Bonded labour: Affects 20m people worldwide. People often become bonded labourers by taking or being tricked into taking a loan
Forced labour: Many people are illegally recruited by individuals, governments or political parties and forced to work
Child labour: Millions of children work in exploitative or dangerous conditions
Children are also forced to work in the sex industry
Early and forced marriage affects women and girls who are married without choice and forced into lives of servitude
Traditional or 'chattel' slavery involves the buying and selling of people. They are often abducted from their homes, inherited or given as gifts
Source: Anti-Slavery International

According to Awura Adwoa Adu of Rendezvous of Victory, slavery's impact can still be felt.

"Its legacy is today's racism and xenophobia," she said.

"We need to learn from our heritage to fight against racism... and remember the effort the slaves put into freeing themselves."

Anti-slavery International which campaigns against slavery worldwide points out that even today forced and bonded labour still exists.

In the UK, migrant women are being forced to work as domestics by employers who withhold their papers, make them work long hours and restrict their liberties, says the organisation's Beth Herzfeld.

Children, women and also men trafficked through the UK end up being forced to work in the sex industry or as servants.

Ms Herzfeld said the weekend's events were also an important reminder of London's role in the Transatlantic slavery trade.

""Ships left from London for Africa to pick up slaves, the ships were insured in London, the chains used were made in London and the wealth from the trade made London and other cities wealthy," she said.

The United Nations launched its International Year to Commemorate the Struggle against Slavery earlier this year.


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