Steve McQueen has become a patron of Anti-Slavery International to join the struggle against modern day slavery.
The director of ‘12 Years A Slave’, hopes that the profile that his film raised for the issue of slavery can make a difference in helping to make modern day slavery a thing of the past and pledged his support for Anti-Slavery International’s work.
The film tells the story of Solomon Northup – a free black man – who is kidnapped in 1841 and sold into slavery. Anti-Slavery International, founded in 1839, two years before the film original story started, played an important role in ending the form of slavery that the film talks about.
Slavery in its modern forms is far from finished as the International Labour Organization estimates there are at least 20.9 million people in slavery across the world today.
Anti-Slavery works to eradicate all modern forms of slavery across the world, including trafficking, bonded labour, forced labour, descent based slavery, child slavery, and early and forced marriage.
The organisation works by conducting research uncovering the cases and realities of slavery, lobbying governments and international institutions to first introduce and then implement the laws to end and prevent slavery practices, and on the grassroots level it works with local partners to empower individuals and communities vulnerable to slavery to demand respect for their own rights.
Steve McQueen said: "I am truly honoured to have been asked to become a patron of Anti-Slavery International, the oldest anti-slavery organisation in the world.
“Right now, there are Solomon Northups in every region of the world who have been taken away from their families and placed in slavery. I hope that 150 years from now a film will not be made about our ambivalence to slavery. We have to do something about it.”
Director of Anti-Slavery International Aidan McQuade said: "I am delighted that Steve has offered us his support, and I am sure that his voice will add a great urgency to the unfinished struggle to end slavery for all.
“Slavery remains a problem in the contemporary world in major part because governments lack the political will and the moral courage to address underlying causes of slavery: the vulnerability and social exclusion of those enslaved, as well as the lack of the rule of law protecting the vulnerable.
“I hope Steve’s patronage will add weight to the voice of those vulnerable to slavery that we work with across the world.”