I read a shocking story today told by the mother of a girl who had been groomed for prostitution in the UK. The abuse and the trauma that the daughter and her whole family went through was terrifying, and their lives will never be the same again. This story got me thinking.
Trafficking happens here in the UK, in our towns and on our streets. It’s something I have real difficulty getting my head around. I think it’s much easier to imagine human trafficking as a far off evil that has no bearing on your everyday life. This is partly because when human trafficking is happening in your neighbourhood, you become part of the solution to end it. Stopping human trafficking in your community means taking personal action. I think that’s a daunting concept. What can you do to stop it?
One of many things that you can do is spot the traffik. And the STOP THE TRAFFIK Community Information Pack helps to train adults to collect information about their local sex industry and build relationships with professional agencies so they can respond to sex trafficking.
But humans are trafficked for many reasons that have nothing to do with sex. Trafficked people end up as domestic labourers, workers in farms or factories, beggars, nannies… right here, in the UK. You might spot signs of trafficking in the homes of people you know, in your school or on your high street.
And yet, the signs of trafficking can be easily confused with innocent behaviour: lights on in homes late at night, domestic workers who don’t interact much with the family, a child who is suspicious of adults. Plus we live in a society that has never been more isolated, privacy conscious and migrant than today.
So if you try to spot the traffik in the world around you, are you being a good citizen, or a nosy neighbour? Could prying into our neighbours lives actually have the opposite effect and diminish trust within the community? And if you do spot something suspicious, will your community support your view and your decision to report it? On the other hand, what if you’re really on to something? There are so many things all around us that we’ve never even noticed…
Because of this, STOP THE TRAFFIK thinks important to make whole communities aware of trafficking in their midst. If groups of people are proactively talking to each other and supporting each other, there’s a better chance of focussing your attention in the right places and barking up the right tree. STOP THE TRAFFIK Awareness and Action Packs are there to guide you and give you ideas about how to get the word out. That’s the first and most important step in the whole process. Take personal action.
Awareness and Action Packs and Community Information Packs are available to download free from the STOP THE TRAFFIK website: http://www.stopthetraffik.org