Modern Slavery And How PR Can Help

Have you ever thought of life without access to decent work conditions, freedom of movement or education? 40.3 million people around the world live under inhumane conditions every day as victims of modern slavery (even though there is nothing modern about it)! Read how PR can help tackle this world issue. 


What is modern slavery?

Before its eradication in the 19th century, slavery meant that people had ownership rights over others. Although now there are no contracts per se binding anyone to their owners, modern slavery still means taking advantage of the victims and controlling them without freedom of choice.

The number of people suffering from continual mistreatment has increased so aggressively that the government updated legislation to highlight how serious the issue has become. In 2016 the first conviction and sentencing took place of a British businessman for human trafficking.

Apart from human trafficking, there have also been numerous cases reported of forced labour in agriculture with individuals earning less than the minimum wage.

Forms of modern slavery and numbers:

  • Forced labour –9 million people in the world
  • Debt bondage – 1 million people around the world
  • Human trafficking –8 million people in forced sexual exploitation around the world
  • Child slavery, e.g. child trafficking, child soldiers, child marriage and child domestic slavery – 10 million children globally
  • Forced/early marriage – 4 million people in the world

How can PR help tackle modern slavery?

PR plays a fundamental role in issues of this nature spreading awareness and encouraging social change.  Many NGOs have been working relentlessly in collaboration with PR agencies to bring this issue to the public’s attention, to initiate reform.

Here are a few examples of what PR can do to help tackle modern slavery:

  • Do what we do best…communicate! Work with relevant influencers/media and encourage them to spread the message about modern slavery. This can be done through interviews, articles, surveys and so on.
  • Educate the public about what is going on all around us through our own social media platforms. Share articles from NGOs or other relevant and accurate sources to emphasise the importance of the issue. Social media always helps spread the word even faster!
  • Another message that needs to be communicated is how to identify someone that has been trafficked and how to help them. PR can generate visibility for relevant helplines and websites.
  • Last but not least, we can always volunteer our ‘services’ to charities to help organize events, social awareness talks and other campaigns that will increase interaction with the public and fundraising.

To learn more about modern slavery, visit: or