Combating domestic slavery in Europe through research, campaigns and establishment of national committees.
Over the course of two Daphne projects funded in 1998 and 1999, the French NGO Comité Contre l’Esclavage Moderne (CCEM) set out to bring to public attention the situation of young women (and sometimes but more rarely men) trapped in slavery-like conditions in Europe, where they have been brought to work as domestic help or in other service positions, often by diplomats or business families on overseas postings. To do this, they undertook comparative research, worked to create a network of Committees against Modern Forms of Slavery joined in a European grouping, and did awareness raising across Europe.
CCEM had been successful in unveiling a number of such cases, building advocacy work around them and also supporting the victims through accommodation, legal aid, social services and mobilization of public and authorities.
This project aimed in particular to support the establishment of Committees against Modern Slavery in a number of EU countries and to undertake research in these countries on the situation of domestic slavery. Such research formed the basis of mobilization of a range of audiences in these countries but also debate and lobbying for legal reform. At the same time, the Committees were supported to put in place support mechanisms for victims, using the experience of CCEM.
In addition to the research reports and creation of the network, CCEM organized an awareness-raising exhibition of posters. This was inaugurated in Paris in April 2001 at Sources d’Europe, the European information centre. It then traveled to Nantes, Ajaccio, Agen, Marseille (France), Vienna (Austria), and Ascoli Piceno (Italy). The exhibition continues to travel. In support of this, CCEM did media information campaigns and produce a regular newsletter. In preparation for the exhibition, the following were produced:
· A series of 45 posters on the theme ‘Europe United against Slavery’. The posters reflect many different views of modern slavery, but all are powerful reminders of this hidden form of violence. Two of the posters are reproduced here for your use – please, though, contact CCEM to ensure that the artists are given appropriate credit.
· CCEM also produced t-shirts with the slogan ‘Europe United against Slavery’, and distributed these through their website and through meetings/other venues to members of the public.
CCEM decided to mobilize the creative talent of Europe by announcing a poster competition on the theme ‘Europe United against Slavery’. From the posters they received – paintings, collage works, hi-tech prints and more – they chose 45 outstanding designs, which they then reproduced and distributed widely in France, Italy, Belgium, Austria and Spain.
1. The message of the posters was important to underline the ‘European-ness’ of the action and the need to harmonize legislation and response to modern forms of slavery across the Union. Developing the message within the European context also reinforced the group’s network, because it meant that the poster exhibition could travel all over Europe and, because the designs and languages used are diverse but the format and message are cohesive, it can be appreciated by many different cultures.
2. Posters were an ideal format because they are unique artworks, make an imposing exhibition and can also be reproduced in other forms – in newsletters, on cards, on t-shirts etc. The t-shirts are a good ‘add-on’ because they bring in an element of personal engagement, moving beyond public messages to the mobilization of individuals. This is particularly important because CCEM also mobilizes volunteers to help victims directly by providing safe accommodation while legal process is under way and other forms of support.
1. Involving a sector of professionals in a project takes the awareness raising beyond public outreach into a very targeted ‘in’reach to a particular sector. In this case, the artists who submitted the poster designs were also involved in researching the topic and ‘visualizing’ it in all its complexity. This is an important sensitization bonus, because these artists may well continue to spread understanding of this issue through their work. The same specialized sensitization can also be achieved, for example, by involving TV and radio producers, computer software developers, graphic designers and other ‘producers’ or ‘creators’ in your work. These groups of people are extremely important to the formulation of messages and the more they understand about the issues Daphne covers, the better they will pass on these messages in their work.
· L’Europe contre l’esclavage, poster in French, Italian, Spanish, German, English and Dutch
· L’Europe contre l’Esclavage, T-shirt (size XL) in French[cost : 100 FF + 16FF postage, send cheque to Comité Contre l’Esclavage Moderne]
Comparative legal and statistical study on Belgium, Spain, France and Italy [send A3 envelope with stamps for 100-200 gm weight to CCEM)