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Enslaved: The New British Slavery Paperback – 1 May 2008
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'This is one of the most vital books of the new century.' Emma Thompson 'Slavery does not belong to the past. It lives and breathes in our midst and Rahila Gupta's powerful expose opens a window on this secret world. This is one of the most shocking books you will read about contemporary Britain; that human beings should be treated with such degradation and cruelty is a disgrace we should find unbearable. I hope the author's passion ignites a new anti-slavery campaign. Sign me up.' HELENA KENNEDY
About the Author
Campaigning journalist-activist RAHILA GUPTA has written several plays, and is the editor of From Homebreakers to Jailbreakers: Southall Black Sisters and co-author of Circle of Light, a book about the Sikh-British woman Kiranjit Ahluwalia imprisoned for the manslaughter of her abusive husband
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The main body of the book is based on case histories - a 17-year old Russian girl trafficked to this country for sex, a street child from Sierra Leone brought here as a domestic slave, etc. I must sadly admit that most of the gangster flicks pale into insignificance when compared to the living brutalities Ms Gupta recounts. These are real stories of exploitation, from the mouths of those exploited, happening, chillingly, at recognisable streets and places in the UK. The first few pages alone are like sitting through the film `Saving Private Ryan' - bloody and brutal and impossible to escape. Some of the stories are a little more difficult in their flow but you soon get used to the style.
From these case histories, Ms Gupta makes the connection to the new arrivals being the new slaves in Britain, their status as fragile as a parcel with no address label. Many are forced to go underground, aided by complex immigration rules, where they may remain for the rest of their lives, exploited for their cheap labour. Ms Gupta quotes Kevin Bales, Director of Free the Slaves, "In Brazil slaves made the charcoal that tempered the steel that made the springs in your car and the blade on your lawnmower". The connection is also made here of Western interests leading to war and unrest in developing countries which in turn displaces people who flee towards the West for safety.
By exposing the uncomfortable truth of how we are happily gaining from slave labour around the world but firmly closing our eyes/doors the moment 'modern slavery' is seen to happen in our own back yard, `Enslaved' raises an important and urgent issue for modern day Britain. A must read for anyone concerned about the human rights of desperate people living in our midst. Nicely timed too, to coincide with the bicentennary of the supposed abolition of slavery.
Enslaved is an eye opener, because we all think that slavery doesn't exist any more,or that it doesn't affect us. It made me look at the city I live in and wonder how many 'enslaved' people are living in it. Thank goodness this book brings the issue out into the open. It's a really intelligently written book, with very moving stories.
This book made me so grateful for my rights and liberties. They should never be taken for granted. No society is completely perfect, but a society where there's openness, opportunity and basic freedoms is to be valued.
I totally recommend this book.
Enslaved shows the hidden lives of people who are trafficked and prostituted,or imprisoned and persecuted. It makes me so glad for my own life, so appreciative of the simple things, the simple freedoms that I take for granted.
I do wonder why human beings hurt each other so much. Why they exploit each other so brutally?
Enslaved is really movingly written, with great feeling and intelligence. Everyone has to read it. It'll make you think about all the important things in life. And about all the important things in your own, personal life.
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