A York church is preparing an exhibition ahead of Anti-Slavery Day (October 18) - along with two dedicated services on consecutive Sundays.

Rev Stephanie Bisby, of the York Unitarians, said the aim was to educate York on the prominence of modern-day slavery.

She said: “We were more surprised than we perhaps should have been at how much of a problem modern slavery is.

“It goes into a number of different areas like human trafficking and child labour.”

Stephanie spoke of a story the Unitarians were made aware of, where a man from Hull was lured into the trap of slavery under a false pretence of a construction job.

She added: “We want to make people aware that it is something that can happen, just because we’re in York doesn’t mean it can’t happen.”

Speaking in Sunday’s service, at 11am, will be Professor Gary Craig, from York.

York Press: Professor Gary Craig

Prof Craig has been involved in research about modern slavery for 20 years and has sat as Chair in Social Justice as well as co-founding the Wilberforce institute for the study of slavery and emancipation.

He also helped to develop the Safer York Partnership to help tackle modern slavery in York. The partnership was established on Anti-Slavery day, in 2017.

Speaking on the scale of the issue, Prof Craig said: “There are substantially more than 17,000 people in forms of modern slavery.”


He explained: “This is the official government estimate from Home Office data. However, the Walk Free Foundation suggests there may be more than 130,000 victims within the UK.

“This suggest that there are around 500 victims in the York area and perhaps three times that many in North Yorkshire.”

He added: “The largest single category of modern slavery is forced labour/child labour, with child exploitation and sex trafficking also significant forms.”

Professor Craig also stressed that “slavery is here, it’s now, it’s everywhere and you can’t get away from it.”