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Review: The UK’s Hidden Slaves

The idea of a slave trade still existing today may seem almost unbelievable, especially as it is not often witnessed. However, in this programme, Radio 1 Stories investigates the modern day slave trade – still prevalent today. The fact that there are 46 million slaves today, 13,000 of whom are in the UK, demonstrates that this is the great human rights issue of our time.

The modern slave trade’s operation is covert, which contributes to its proliferation, making it hard for the authorities to detect. Dev, the presenter, seeks to draw parallels over the course of the programme between slavery then and now. What soon becomes apparent is that the fundamentals of slavery have not changed; it is still a practice underscored by power hierarchies and fear.

This programme has a perfect balance of emotive and factual content, meaning that you feel far better informed of the key issues surrounding the trade after listening to it. The four main types of slavery today are outlined – sex trafficking, criminal exploitation, labour trafficking and domestic slavery – and each description is accompanied by the shockingly vivid accounts of people who have experienced each type of practice. This stops the slave trade seeming like a distant or historical concept, and the comparison between the two slave eras makes you incredibly angry that such barbarism still happens.

The only slight downfall of this otherwise excellent documentary is abnormally long musical interludes which detract from the sensitive issues discussed. This may have been done to appeal to a Radio 1 audience but such a sensitive matter needed more sensitive treatment. Aside from that, I would highly recommend you take a listen.

Image: Patrick Sinclair @ Flickr

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