Focus: Campaign of the week - Fight to rekindle abolitionist spirit

Georgina Lock

With just a year to go before the world marks the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade by Britain, Anti-Slavery International has launched a countdown to the bicentenary in March 2007.

As it calls on the Government to make ending today's slavery a priority, the society wants to inspire people and harness the spirit of those who campaigned more than 200 years ago for an end to the trade in humans.

To encourage involvement, the organisation has designed four e-cards that highlight the issues and is sending out a link to its 7,000 supporters to kick off the viral campaign.

The four 'What is my story?' cards depict examples of slavery from past and present.

Each of the two-page e-cards is available for downloading from the www.antislavery.org/2007 site. Supporters can forward them to friends and family members, alerting them to the plight of the millions in slavery today.

They depict four slavery-related scenes. One shows captured slaves tied together and marching to the west African coast to be shipped to Europe's colonies. Another shows former slave Olaudah Equiano, who campaigned against the trade in the 1780s.

The third shows a modern-day domestic slave child, emphasising that more than 170,000 children in Haiti are sent to work in households far from home, working long hours and often with little or no pay. The last card shows contemporary abolitionist Cecilia Flores-Oebanda, who works to secure the rights of children in the Philippines.

The cards include a link to the Fight for Freedom declaration, which calls for an end to slavery, urge people to write to their MPs and invites them to join Anti-Slavery International's campaign.

David Ould, director of the charity, said: "Two hundred years ago, the public rallied together against the slave trade, successfully challenging what was an accepted norm.

"Today, with the advantages of the internet and other forms of mass communication, people can achieve even more - the end of slavery once and for all."

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