‘Writing novels as a form of activism! Part of a long tradition of lit/art engaging with difficult problems, raising awareness. Once you know, you can’t claim ignorance.’ Baroness Lola Young
‘(Hu)Man’s inhumanity to (hu)man
Makes countless thousands mourn!‘ Robert Burns
A couple of years ago I attended a talk at Bradford Literature Festival led by Baroness Lola Young and Kevin Hyland OBE who was the first ever Anti- Slavery commissioner (responsible for improving the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of slavery and human trafficking offences) who resigned after feeling that the government was interfering in his work too much. I found the talk both shocking and enlightening. I hadn’t been aware of the variety of ways in which people could exploit their fello human beings and it made me very angry. That talk sowed the seeds for Broken Silence in my mind. I was so appalled by some of the things I learned that day that I researched more on my own and knew there was no way I couldn’t write about Modern Day Slavery.
Broken Silence is about Modern Day Slavery, trafficking and human exploitation. From this you might gather that it is not a read fro the faint hearted. It is certainly in some respects an uncomfortable read – some chapters were very uncomfortable to write. However, after extensive research through watching documentaries, visiting websites and attending talks on the subject, I made sure that what I wrote, although realistic, has been toned down a lot.
In writing Broken Silence, I was aware that, uncomfortable as it may be for me to write, it was nothing compared to the horrific experiences of those who have been exploited in such a way. This drove me on. At times I was in tears as I wrote about characters that became very real to me. Stefan Marcovici – a brave man, a family man – became a character I was prepared to fight tooth and nail for. His daughter Maria became my own daughter – and my thirst for justice for Maria forced me onwards, in much the same way as it drove my detective DS Nikki Parekh on.
A sense of rage and disgust and a desire to highlight the issue of Modern Day slavery was at the heart of the novel. I hope that Broken Silence exposes the routine ways in which the perpetrators exploit people in plain view. I hope it makes people look a little more closely at nail salons, car washes, factories and people offering other people’s services for menial jobs. I hope it highlights the fact that slavery is by no means a thing of the past, but is present in today’s society.
If you suspect that there is Modern Day Slavery happening in your city, town, road, or area, or if you are affected by this, then please contact this number 08000 121 700
These links are to organisations which work with trafficked people and can provide much more information: