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26 February 2020

Unique conference at Wisbech to explore Cambridgeshire's ongoing fight against slavery

Unique conference at Wisbech to explore Cambridgeshire's ongoing fight against slavery

One small town in the Fens where the first English anti-slavery researcher and campaigner Thomas Clarkson was brought up has been central to the battle to abolish slavery and people-trafficking for more than 200 years.

Next month Wisbech is hosting a conference attended by key national and international activists to look at how far Abolition still has to go, and how slavery in its many modern forms can be tackled today in the light of what's been achieved so far.

It is inspired by Thomas Clarkson's campaign chest which has pride of place in the Wisbech and Fenland Museum. Clarkson's research and lifelong campaign led finally to the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833.

Local people with an interest are invited to attend Cambridgeshire's Abolitionists, a one-day event, at St Peter's Church Hall in Wisbech on Saturday, March 14 as long as they book a place before March 2. (Find details below)

Local speaker and manager of the Rosmini Centre Anita Grodkiewicz will talk about the centre's 18-month Government-funded project partnered with Fenland District Council to research modern-day slavery in the area.

She said: “Exploitation of vulnerable people – modern slavery – is happening in Fenland. It's a hidden crime and as such the statistics vary depending on who's reporting them – you can't get reliable figures. 

“For the project we trained more than 150 local people who might come across victims in the course of their work to look for the signs and to report what they find.

“What I'm sure of is that more agencies need this training. We've got to raise awareness further and fight modern-day slavery, because it's not going to go away on its own.

“Victims can be in your workplace, the place where you get your car washed or your nails done. They may be building a wall in your garden or tarmacking your drive.”

Other speakers at the conference include Jakub Sobik of Anti-Slavery International which  was founded by Thomas Clarkson in 1839, Ruth Dearnley, CEO of Stop the Traffik, and historian Rebecca Nelson of the Wilberforce Institute's Usable Past Project, who will present her recent research.

Find more details and book a free ticket to the conference including free refreshments and lunch through Wisbech and Fenland Museum website via this link:

Cambridgeshire's Abolitionists is part of Articles for Change, a project funded by the Museum Association's Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund and is supported by Cambridgeshire Association for Local History.

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