Steve McQueen speaks out on modern slavery

Director praises new report.

by Jennie Kermode

Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong'o and Chiwetel Ejiofor as Edwin, Patsey and Solomon in Steve McQueen's 12 Years A Slave
Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong'o and Chiwetel Ejiofor as Edwin, Patsey and Solomon in Steve McQueen's 12 Years A Slave

12 Years A Slave may be set in the 19th Century but slavery is still an issue, and director Steve McQueen spoke out on the subject yesterday. He praised the proposals made in a new report by the Joint Committee on Human Rights at Westminster.

There is much in the history of the United Kingdom in relation to slavery that our country should be ashamed of," said McQueen in a statement since appended to the report itself.

"But one thing that all British people can be justifiably proud is of our anti-slavery tradition stretching back to people such as Equiano, Clarkson, Wilberforce, and the Quakers. The authors of this report can honourably stand in that tradition. They have listened to the evidence and considered it with great care. Their recommendations are humane and principled."

The report has been issued in response to the government's Anti-Slavery Bill, which has been criticised for failing to put enough focus on the needs of victims.

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