Organisations across the North of England have found a unique way to highlight the fight against modern slavery. March 26 is the second anniversary of the passage of the Modern Slavery Act through Parliament, the first national legislation since Wilberforce’s two Acts from the nineteenth century. In the days leading up to March 26th, many organisations across Northern England will be planting one or more modern slavery roses, a beautiful floribunda peach-coloured tea rose, to commemorate the plight of the thousands of people still in forms of slavery across the UK.
The rose is a spin-off from the Modern Slavery Garden (www.modernslaverygarden.com) which was developed by a group of professional horticulturalists with technical advice from Gary Craig, Professor Emeritus of Social Justice at the Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation. This garden won two major prizes at the Chelsea Flower Show last year and it is hoped to reproduce the garden in Queen’ Gardens, Hull from July onwards, as a contribution to the Freedom Festival’s freedom quarter. The rose was specially bred by Colin Dickson, rose grower from Newtownards in Northern Ireland who commented ‘I am very proud to be associated with this very worthwhile initiative’.
The rose planting campaign is being led by Professor Craig together with the Anti-Trafficking Student Group of the University of York Students Union and, to date, has drawn in anti-slavery groups and departments in universities in Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumbria, Hull, Manchester, York, Leeds, and York St John. Other organisations involved include Hull College of Art and design, where students are working on anti-slavery projects, the police, women’s institutes, gardening clubs, public health organisations, local authority parks and gardens, local authorities (with the Lord Mayor of Hull planting six in the city of Wilberforce) and organisations supporting refugees.
Modern slavery – involving human trafficking for sexual or labour exploitation, cannabis farming, child labour exploitation, forced begging and organ trafficking, and domestic servitude, is thought to involve upwards of 13,000 people at any one time in the UK and numbers are increasing.
For the modern slavery garden go to www.modernslaverygarden.com
Professor Craig (contact email@example.com, tel. 01904 652824), on behalf of the modern slavery rose initiative, said ‘planting a rose, an everyday event for gardeners, is one simple way to communicate the existence of modern slavery to a very wide public in the UK and shows that there are many different ways in which members of the public can campaign against this heinous crime.’
Emily Duff of York University Anti-Trafficking Student Group (firstname.lastname@example.org), on behalf of the six universities involved in the project, commented ‘It’s been so encouraging getting in touch with people across Northern England who are as passionate about fighting modern slavery as we are. We hope this way to extend our campaign against modern slavery across the region.’ A rose will be planted in the grounds of York University at 3.30 pm on Thursday March 16th.
For other views from organisations involved in the project and perspectives on modern slavery contact any of the following:
Lord Mayor of Hull City Council: for further information about the planting ceremony in Hull on Sunday March 26th at 11.00 am, contact email@example.com
Mayor of Knaresborough Town Council: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation: email@example.com
Humberside Modern Slavery Partnership: firstname.lastname@example.org