Aidan McQuade

Director of Anti-Slavery International. Founded in 1839, it is the world's oldest international human rights organisation and the only charity in the United Kingdom to work exclusively against slavery and related abuses.

I have always thought that history was important as a means to understand the present. The devastation wrought by the Transatlantic Slave Trade system still reverberates in the poverty of large parts of Africa and much of the wealth of Europe and America. In addition, the dehumanising legacy of racism that was a cause and consequence of the slave trade still divides too much of the world.

But history should be an inspiration for the future. At the end of the 18th century, ordinary people of conscience and courage, which included enslaved Africans in the Americas and a civil society movement in Europe, came together to destroy a system that, in the name of profits, devastated the lives and hopes of millions of other ordinary people. If our ancestors could achieve so much against such odds there is an imperative on us to finally end the abuses that enslave millions of children, women, and men in every part of the world today.

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