The Secret Diary of a STOP THE TRAFFIK Worker…

I witnessed a strange incident last week in Stansted Airport and wanted to tell someone about it.  Instead of telling just one person, I though I’d share my thoughts with all of you. Maybe I am being a tad egocentric but maybe, just maybe you might be interested……

After a fabulous winter holiday, I flew back from a very small airport in the middle of nowhere to Stansted – a relatively small airport in the middle of nowhere.

As I was waiting for my backpack, I noticed two tall – obviously Eastern European (I think Russian or Ukrainian) women with 2 men. The women both had a small weekend case but the men had no luggage at all, except phones.

Wondering if I had become overly sensitive to trafficking, I kept a very discrete eye on the odd four-some. Over the course of the next half an hour, I saw the following indicators…..

 The men didn’t talk to the women, and the women didn’t talk to the men – at all, except the occasional awkward looking comment

 One man kept making rather hushed phone calls looking a little agitated

 As soon as they had passed security, one of the women was escorted to a cash machine where she got out a lot of money. The man kept an incredibly close watch over everything, including her pin number entry. Do people really need help getting cash out?

 The second woman took some money to the currency exchange. As she left, the men cast each other a peculiar glace and the second guy ran after her and stood guard throughout the whole process

 The mixed race nature of that particular couple was completely atypical

What should I do? How could I get on a train and go back to my life knowing I had turned a blind eye? Maybe it was nothing. Is it better to look like someone who has trafficking on the brain or stay out of it and potentially watch two women fall into a horrific and dangerous situation? All the time I was thinking, they were standing opposite me. One man on the phone, one man keeping watch and two women looking increasingly anxious.

One of the men glanced over at me, maybe recognising me from the cash machine.

A minute later I saw an airport official.  I discreetly explained that I understood the indicators of trafficking and was concerned. He agreed and passed me onto someone else.

The two men saw me

They picked up the bags

They left

The second security guard turned to me and said ‘Oh they’ve gone. Not much I can do now’. Maybe motivated by my horrified glare, he made a phone call to (I assume) security.

The moral of the story….

  1. ACT. Don’t umm and question. Don’t over analyse – that is not our job. Just ACT.
  2. Even though that group most likely got away, the fact the men saw someone had noticed, that someone had their eyes open and alerted security means they will be a warier in future.

The men know that people like you and me are out there making it less safe and easy to slip though unnoticed.

When people ACT, things change.


7 thoughts on “The Secret Diary of a STOP THE TRAFFIK Worker…

  1. Victoria Kuhr

    Hi Grace, I’m glad you liked my blog post. I really hope that by reading it people will feel they to can ACT and create an environment where change becomes possible. I am going to write a weekly spot about… err.. me and my life in STOP THE TRAFFIK…. egocentric… never!

  2. Miriam

    I thought it was a SECRET diary? Or does that just mean that the diary is secret, not who wrote it? Anyway, I thought it was you. It has the same ‘flavour’ as your emails, if that makes sense. But you seem to spot trafficking often. Do you have super eyesight compared to all of us, or what?

  3. Victoria Kuhr

    Miriam! It is indeed me. You are right, it is not a very secret ‘secret diary’ is it?!
    I do not have super eyesight (infact my world is generally very blury) I guess I just like loooking at whats going on around me and have learnt what situations look suspicious. Have a super-super day!

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