Modern Day Slavery


“Human rights are of universal interest because it is the inherent nature of all human beings to yearn for freedom, equality, and dignity and they have the right to achieve it.”

Dalai Lama

My friend of mine, who I am going to call Helen, was walking to work the other day and a van pulled up ahead of her, she expected it to be a delivery (as that is seemingly half the traffic on the roads these days), but she was really surprised when 5 people got out the back of it.

She was then quite shocked when she followed them into her place of work and she recognised the 5 people as new contractors who started the day before.

She was obviously concerned and when she really looked at them recognised they appeared nervous, even frightened and weren’t making eye contact with anyone. She said ‘Good Morning’ to them but they didn’t respond.

She told me she felt really uneasy about the whole thing but wasn’t sure what to do about it. So she decided to go and talk to them but when she approach the group, they were always together apparently, one of them told her they had be told not to speak to anyone who actually worked there.

Now this really started to set alarm bells ringing for Helen so she shared her concerns with her manager. Apparently initially he tried to reassure her that all the proper procurement checks had been done but also admitted that whilst the business owners had come across well, the contractors themselves looked exhausted. They therefore decided to call the Modern Slavery Helpline and report their concerns.

Now I don’t really know Helen and I have taken this story from our online Modern Day Slavery course, however, sadly this story is very real. According to, 40 million people are estimated to be trapped in modern slavery worldwide, 1 in 4 of whom are children, and over 10,000 were identified as potential victims by the authorities in the UK but this number is thought to be grossly underestimated.

This problem is wider spread than we perhaps see, we recently heard Sir Mo Farah sadly revealing that he had been a victim of child trafficking. I am proud to say my Uncle Andrew was Chairman of the charity, Anti-Slavery International, who are one of a number organisations dedicated to eliminating all forms of slavery and slavery like practices throughout the world. The more awareness we have of this issue the more we can all do to help. I hope you remember Helens story and take action if you see anything that concerns you.

At On Track Learning we use storytelling in our online courses as we believe this makes the learning more digestible, memorable and therefore more likely to be applied.

Helen and her boss Steve appear in a number of the course’s as do other characters like Shanice – because they are ordinary people going about their work they put the learning into context and make it relatable.