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Slavery today

To explain how slavery still exists today.

by Gordon and Ronni Lamont

Suitable for Key Stage 2

Aims

To explain how slavery still exists today.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need some play money – notes as in a monopoly game, or photocopy some pretend money.
  • Two PE mats to act as sleeping places.
  • Two brooms for the sweeping activity.
  • Note: This is one of two linked assemblies. The other is William Wilberforce and the Abolition of Slavery.
  • Web resources: www.antislavery.org

Assembly

  1. Ask the children to think about the essential things that we need for life – make sure the list includes food, water, warmth and shelter.
  2. Say that you have a game to play and that you’d like a couple of volunteers to help you. Give the two volunteers some sweeping to do and tell them that they must agree to work for you for a week but they will receive good wages – show them the money. Say ‘It’s day one – start sweeping.’

    After a short while, say: ‘The sun sets its time to eat a bit of food and go to bed.’ Show them their sleeping place, but as soon as they settle down to rest, say: ‘It’s day two – start sweeping.’ After a short while: ‘The sun sets its time to eat a bit of food and go to bed.’

    Continue this for five more days, making them work hard and giving them no time to sleep. Then say: ‘It’s pay day and you each get £100. Hold out your hands.’ Make as if to give them the money and then say: ‘So that’s £10 a night each for the hire of the sleeping place, that’s £70 you each owe me, leaving £30. Then it’s £30 each for the hire of the room, so that’s nothing left. But wait a minute, you each owe me £20 for your week’s food and water – you can’t pay? Don’t worry, you can just work another week – then you’ll be £40 in debt, and then another when you’ll owe me £60 – it seems like you’ll be working for me for ever!’

  3. Thank the participants and ask them to sit down. Explain that we might have found that funny but it shows something that really is going on in our world today. It’s a form of slavery and it’s called bonded labour. Workers are forced to borrow money so that they can do a job but they never earn enough to repay what they borrow so they’re just like slaves. Refer to the list of essentials that you started with and point out that the slave owners use people’s need for these to keep them enslaved.
  4. Explain that many people today, like William Wilberforce in the 1700s (refer to the previous assembly if you used it), are working to stop this terrible form of slavery. Can the children find out more, and what could they do about it? One important thing is to raise awareness – let people know what’s going on. How could they do that?

Time for reflection

Reflection

Great things have been done to end the horrors of slavery in the past.

But slavery goes on in a different form.

How can you help to make a difference?

 

Prayer

Dear God,

Thank you for all that we have – most of all, our freedom.

We think about those who are slaves to bonded labour.

We pray for help to put an end to it.

Amen.

Song/music

‘Sad, puzzled eyes’ (Come and Praise, 74)

Publication date: March 2007   (Vol.9 No.3)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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