Yarmouth mural to combat modern slavery
A large mural will be erected in Great Yarmouth later this month to raise awareness of the widespread presence of slavery in this country. Tony Rothe reports.
The mural has been commissioned by Park Baptist Church in Gorleston and Imagine Norfolk Together, and will be displayed in Great Yarmouth from October 18, which coincides with Anti-Slavery Day. The various activities in Yarmouth on that day are being planned in partnership with the local police.
The term ‘modern slavery’ encompasses both trafficking (the arranging or facilitating of the travel of another, whether into, out of or within the UK, with a view to that person being exploited) and exploitation itself, which can take place both alongside and independently of trafficking. The mural depicts some of the industries where slavery most commonly occurs – carwashes, nail bars, construction, hospitality and domestic work, but the practice is very pervasive and could really be taking place anywhere.
Anna Heydon, Development worker with Imagine Norfolk Together in Yarmouth, said, “It’s really important to raise awareness of modern slavery because it’s a hideous crime which thrives on secrecy and on people’s unwillingness to admit or recognise that it happens where they live.
“The mural is one way to remind people that slavery is present in every community, and that includes here in the Borough of Great Yarmouth. Turning a blind eye isn’t an option for us as Christians – we believe that every human is made in the image of God and has been created for love, dignity and freedom. This mural is a call to action. We must refuse to ignore or look away from situations of injustice and oppression, but instead to stand against them and stand with the victims.”
The mural is part of a larger strategy to raise awareness amongst local people via the churches and Great Yarmouth library will also be hosting a display of books related to the subject of slavery, with more information and people available to answer questions.
Anna previously ran the Clewer Initiative’s Hidden Voices course in 2019, and also facilitiated a local ‘Women in the Shadows’ Lent course on zoom before Easter this year. Imagine Norfolk Together is a member of the Norfolk Anti-slavery Network (NASN).
If people have concerns about modern slavery, should ring the police or the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700. It operates 24 hour a day, 365 days a year.
There are an estimated 136,000 victims of modern slavery in the UK. Victims are men, women and children of all ages, ethnicities and nationalities. Those we know about are just the tip of the iceberg - many victims never come forward to the authorities and continue to live miserable lives with no freedom or dignity.
To learn more about modern slavery, visit the Clewer Initiative website.
For more about the work of Imagine Norfolk Together, visit imaginenorfolktogether.org.uk
Or e-mail Anna Heydon at email@example.com
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