Mark Little MBE is organising a conference in Norwich Anglican Cathedral to shed light on the scourge of modern slavery.
The Queen awarded Mark an MBE for his anti-slavery work in the 2022 honours list. He has been a parishioner at Our Lady of the Annunciation, Poringland since 1978 and was financial adviser to the Diocese from 1992 to 2001.
“Behind closed doors,” writes Mark, “in remote places and right under our noses in plain sight, some 40 million people are held in slavery and servitude worldwide and one in four of these are children. Even in the UK it is estimated that over 130,000 people are living in modern slavery.”
Mark became involved in 2001 after watching a documentary on modern slavery. Within a few months he had travelled to India to begin helping victims of trafficking, and he has since made visits to several other countries.
“My visits to child slave rehabilitation centres in India, Nepal and Thailand these last 19 years have made me realise that one of the great crimes of slavery is that it goes beyond servitude,” he writes. “It goes to the point of eliminating the identity of the individual, and the younger someone is taken into slavery, the less likely they are able to repossess their own identity.”
Mark is organising the Conference on Modern Slavery on behalf of the Rotary Club of Norwich St Edmund. It will take place from 2.15pm to 5pm on Wednesday March 23 in the Weston Room at the Hostry of Norwich Anglican Cathedral.
The speakers will include an anti-slavery activist and author on modern slavery from the USA, a survivor of commercial sexual exploitation, and a former officer of the Metropolitan Police who was part of an anti-trafficking group. He now runs Bakhita House, a safe house in London operated by Caritas Westminster which provides rehabilitation for women and girls rescued from sex slavery.
The conference will cover the nature of human trafficking and slavery, where and why it occurs, what motivates the slave masters and how it affects the victims. It will also highlight the role of the Rotary Action Group against Slavery in raising awareness of and taking action against modern slavery. It will provide guidance on how to spot victims and discuss what to do when victims are suspected.
Entrance will be limited to those purchasing tickets (price £10) from Leaping Hare, www.leapinghare.org 07802 701911. Proceeds and any donations will be shared between the Clewer Sisters (funders of the Clewer anti-slavery Initiative) and Bakhita House.
The conference is an integral part of an art exhibition whose main aim is to raise awareness of modern slavery. The exhibition, which is being curated by Rotarian Caroline Evans and Nicola Hockley, will be in the Hostry throughout the whole of Lent.
Further details can be obtained from Mark Little on email@example.com.
Pictured is Mark Little with slavery survivors in Mumbai on a bus bought with help from his fundraising. Below is Mark at an ashram in India with slavery survivors.