Anti-slavery charity Unseen is launching a social media campaign urging people to change their profile pictures to support victims of modern slavery in the UK. The #UnseenStories campaign coincides with Anti-Slavery Day on October 18 and calls on the public to turn their social media profile picture bright green to raise awareness of the hidden plight of victims of modern slavery in the UK. Creative agency Aesop has developed the campaign and its staff are to donate their Christmas party budget this year to fund the promotional push. The stories of those who fall victim to slavery are being promoted through the campaign, both on social media and outdoor advertising. In addition, bright green projections will be used across Bristol, which is where the charity Unseen was founded. Each starts poetically with lines such as “I lost myself to the nightlife and bright lights in London” before becoming unsettling, adding “I lost my life in London." According to the charity, there were a suspected 7,100 modern slaves in the UK in 2018, with Romanian nationals the largest group and London the location with the highest number of cases.
The campaign urges people wanting to seek help about modern slavery or report concerns to call the charity’s specialist helpline. It is also seeking funding to keep the helpline running. Since the helpline’s launch in 2016, over 15,000 modern slavery victims have been identified. Donations are being taken online as well as via mobile text messaging. “Without the modern slavery helpline, thousands of men, women and children across the UK will remain enslaved and unseen,” said Unseen Chief Executive Andrew Wallis. “For thousands of people trapped in slavery, our helpline is the only way out. If the lines go dead, hope will die with them. “We hope the #UnseenStories campaign will remind people that there are 1000s of victims of modern slavery, often hidden in plain sight, that need their help and will support us by donating and showing solidarity by changing their social media to fluoro green.” Nick Dutnall, Managing Partner at Aesop, added: “Ever since we heard about the work done by Unseen we’ve been keen to get involved. "The victims of modern day slavery don’t often get to tell their story so we wanted to do it for them. Shining a light on to this issue is an absolute must and we’re really proud of the #UnseenStories campaign.”