Is our blood not worth more than oil #LibyaSlaveTrade
Last Saturday my friends and I joined the protest against the Slave Trade in Libya. We kept repeating ourselves in such disbelief “I can’t believe we are protesting about *this* in 2017”. Despite the weather reaching 0 degrees at some points the turnout and solidarity was warming. I will say this though, it was disappointing to see a real lack of diversity of people at the march. I’ve been on several marches, Black Lives Matter, Women’s March, Anti-Austerity and Student Fees and there was more diversity at those marches then on Saturday. Why? Now this *could* be down to lack of awareness or promotion (gives side eye). If so, we should question why this modern day slavery is not in mainstream news. However, the turnout to me symbolising a lack of genuine allieship/ solidarity when it comes to black issues- black issues or slogans that aren’t as “cool” as #BlackLivesMatter.
Slavery in countries like Libya is not a black issue nor is it an African issue, it’s a global issue and there should be a global outcry.
This is why I’m so pleased to see the Libya Slave Trade petition to the UK Government exceeded the requirement to not only receive a formal response from the Government but for there to be a debate. There will be a Westminster Hall debate on Monday 18th 4:30pm.
I’ll be honest I wasn’t that impressed with Government’s response this morning. I may come back to this in another post. However, we have four days to put pressure on MPs, Minsters, political advisers to listen to our outcry.
Here is what you can do right now to ensure the debate at Westminster Hall is meaningful and will hold the UK Government to account:
1. Write/tweet/email to your Member of Parliament asking them if they will be attending the debate on Monday.
I’ve spoke to my MP for West Ham who is intending to not only be at the debate but speak. Below is a template email you can send. Here’s how you can find out who your MP is.
2. Ask your MP how they plan to keep the UK Government accountable.
Those in stuck in slavery don’t need 650 MPs sharing how sad and disgusted they are. They need action and they need it now.
3. Attend the debate
Attend the debate on behalf of those we are advocating for. Let Parliament and the press know this is a huge issue, that we are watching and we want action. (I unfortunately will be in Geneva preparing to speak at the UN about online abuse but will be watching online and tweeting loads.)
(Shout out to a great friend of mine Audrey. We had a discussion about what we can do to support those stuck in slavery including writing to our MPs. Audrey then sent a wicked (good wicked) email so I’ve based this template email on one sent on Sunday)
Dear [insert MPs name],
I hope you are well.
My name is ____ and I live ___ and I’m writing about the recent coverage of the Libya slave trade.
Like many, I was shocked and upset to see the plight of many human beings that are being sold into a slave trade in 2017. I attended the recent demonstration march outside of the Libyan Embassy and was struck by how many people, just like me were disgusted by the treatment of human beings in Libya and wanted to do something.
I have since found out that there is a debate in parliament on the 18th December at 4.30pm and was hoping that you would be attending to stand up and condemn what is currently happening. I would also like to find out, in light of what is going on, what the British government will be doing to pressure the Libyan government to take action.
It is not lost on me, that as shocking as this new revelation is, modern slavery still very much exists all over the world and I would really like see this debate shine a light on this and more importantly what we as a nation are doing to safeguard the vulnerable and punish the employers that are profiting from this practice.
It would be great to have a further conversation about what your party are doing in particular to address modern slavery in the U.K.
I look forward to your response.