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2008 National Black Members' Conference
12 September 2007

Conference recognises

1.The first English Slavery expedition was carried out by Sir John Hawkins in 1562 and the transatlantic slave trade lasted for over 200 years.

2.This year marks 201 years since the Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade; the Bill first proposed by Tory reformer William Wilberforce received Royal Assent on 25 March 1807. It was on this day that the British Government made it illegal for any British Ships to be involved in Slave Trading. The Act outlawed the taking of salves from Africa and the transportation of them to the Caribbean and Americas European enslaved million of Africans through the transatlantic slave trade. It is thought that an estimated 12 million Africans were loaded onto ships and that over 3 million people died in transit.

Conference notes:

1.In the 2005 GLA projections on population, 9% of the population in Waltham Forest, by 2007, would be Black Caribbean, 6.5% Black African and 4% Black other;

2.Despite this modern day slavery exists in the form of human trafficking, debt bondage and caste discrimination;

3.The success of the 225,000 people One Community campaign in recognising the diversity of Waltham Forest and the Council’s Fair Trade policy to ensure that Council purchasing and procurement policies are ethical and do not either directly or indirectly contribute to contemporary slavery or the abusive exploitation of human labour;

4.Amnesty International’s efforts to call upon the 39 Council of Europe member states to sign the Council of Europe Convention on action against Trafficking in Human Beings;

5.The government’s establishment of a new UK Human trafficking Centre on 3rd October 2006 which will carry on the successful work of Petameter (which is a UK wide police operation which aims to combat trafficking for sexual exploitation).

Conference calls on the National Black Members Committee (NBMC) to work in conjunction with NRC, NAPF Committee Labour Link MPs to:

(a)Consult with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to support the campaign for a National Day of Remembrance of the transatlantic slave trade on the 23rd August. This date was established by UNESCO in 1997 as the official annual International Day for Remembrance of Slave Trade and its Abolition;

(b)have an annual ceremony on 23rd August to commemorate the Abolition of Slavery;

(c)ask the Labour Link MPs to report via NAPF and NBMC is working with national agencies to ensure the eradication of modern day slavery via human trafficking in the UK;

(d)Write to the Prime Minister outlining UNISON’s support for the Council of Europe Convention on action against Trafficking in Human Beings and to request that the Labour Government fully ratifies the Convention which is so far has refused to do.

NBMC to report to the 2009 conference on progress on these issues.