‘Human vending machine’ highlights modern-day slavery

Students have been trapped in a human vending machine to highlight the plight of millions of people around the world who are victims of slavery.

Hull University marked Human Rights Day by releasing the results of a YouGov poll which showed:

– Over a third (34%) of adults are unaware that modern-day slavery practices are used in the production of fresh foods

– About one in five UK adults (21%) believes slavery is not something that occurs in the UK today

– Over one in 10 UK adults (13%) agree that slavery is something that existed in the past but does not happen today

A student from the University of Hull inside the vending machine
A student from the University of Hull inside the vending machine

The vending machine in central London was stocked with everyday food items, and reinforced the point that the fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and cheese we eat could be supplied by slavery at some point in the chain.

The university launched a new initiative called It’s Time to Break the Chain, urging shoppers to use consumer power to make ethical choices about what they buy.

Cristina Talens, a director of modern slavery risk assessments at the University of Hull’s Wilberforce Institute, said: “As consumers we are often at a loss as to what we can do to help – but we can make a difference by being aware of issues and asking companies to report on the Modern Slavery Act.

“Businesses have a legal – and moral – responsibility to eradicate slavery from within their operations and their supply chains.”