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Princess Eugenie steps out for cause close to her heart in London

The royal set up her own initiative in 2017

Princess Eugenie stepped out for a cause close to her heart on Wednesday just days after visiting an "inspiring" art project at Hammersmith and Fulham Hospital’s Mental Health Unit.

The royal, 31, visited Paternoster Square to view the Art Is Freedom, an art exhibition by survivors of modern slavery curated by the crisis charity Hestia.

The exhibition which centres around the theme of 'hope' includes photography and mixed media pieces by men, women and children who have experienced modern slavery who have completed a workshop series delivered by volunteer professional artists.

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WATCH: Princess Eugenie reveals what inspired her to set up own charity

Eugenie, who studied history of art at university, is a director at the Hauser & Wirth art gallery. Her public visit comes after she welcomed her first child, August, with her husband, Jack Brooksbank, in February.  

Hestia, which supports over 2,200 adult victims of modern slavery and 1,200 dependent children each year said in its latest report, there are at least 5,000 children of modern slavery victims in the UK with many more potentially lost in the system.

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Eugenie viewed the exhibition by St Paul's Cathedral in London

The exhibition which opened on Anti-Slavery Day on 18 October will help spread awareness of the issue in London and help the public to confidently spot the signs of modern slavery.

Eugenie set up her own initiative, The Anti-Slavery Collective, with her best friend, Julia de Boinville, in 2017.

In a post on the charity's Instagram account on Wednesday, the pair shared the story of how the initiative came about.

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The royal looked elegant in a tweed pleated dress

The caption read: "We met on the bus on our way to a school trip and knew at once that this was just the beginning of a life-long friendship and adventure!

"After following each other around the world, then to Newcastle University, and into our careers. In 2012, we went on a trip to Kolkata, India. Here, we visited an organisation called Women’s Interlink Foundation and first became aware of modern slavery. Aloka Mitra , the founder of Women's Interlink, rescues girls from modern slavery, gives them a home and teaches them a simple vocational skill – fabric printing.

"We were shocked to discover the extent to which slavery still exists. In fact, there are more enslaved people today than at any other point in history and, at any one time, someone is being trafficked within a mile of where you live. We often associate slavery with chains and shackles, but modern slavery is a hidden crime that is often hard to detect.

Eugenie and Julia shared how they founded The Anti-Slavery Collective

"We spent the next 5 years educating ourselves. We became obsessive investigators and would visit anyone who could help us expand our knowledge; from policy makers, law enforcement agencies and academics, to NGOs, social workers and survivors. We asked everyone we encountered, ‘what can two young girls like us do to help?’ Without fail, the answer was always raise awareness. So this became our mission.

"In 2017, we proudly launched The Anti-Slavery Collective."

Art Is Freedom is open to the public at Paternoster Square, central London until 5pm on Monday 25 October.

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