British soap opera shines light on modern slavery

British soap opera Coronation Street has announced a new storyline following a nail salon worker who is caught in a human trafficking ring.

Producers announced the plot ahead of Monday’s episode with the hope that the new character will highlight that slavery hides in plain sight”.

The UK has seen a dramatic increase in cases of modern slavery since the introduction of the Modern Slavery Act in 2015. It is estimated that over 136,000 people in the UK are victims of modern slavery, many of whom were trafficked to work in businesses such as nail salons and horticulture. “Our research has shown us that in many towns and cities across Britain, people are being forced to work against their will, living in extreme poverty and in fear for their safety, all so ruthless criminal gangs can get rich at their expense”, said Colin McLeod, producer of Coronation Street.

The show’s writers worked with the Salvation Army and a former trafficking victim known as J, in order to ensure authenticity in the story. “A lot of people get their nails done and it will help them look out for signs… and understand how it is so close to home,” said J. “Modern slavery looks really different to the common perception of it,” she added.

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Sonja Duncan