So It’s Christmas shopping season and the high streets and city centres are full of bustling crowds, frustrated shoppers, and people splurging out on big presents for each other during this festive time!
So what could you buy for £3,000?
A flash new Rolex?
A HD LCD TV?
Some jewellery for your loved one?
An exotic holiday?
How about a young Lithuanian woman in her 20s?
Shocking – yes, but this is what occurred on London’s busiest shopping high street – Oxford Street –last week. Pimps, and their bodyguards, were caught on police surveillance outside Selfridges department store last week selling a young girl to a brothel owner for £3,000 in cash. The pimp was Albanian, and part of a gang that controls nine brothels in London. The young girl he was selling would be expected to earn her new owner up to £100,000 a year by having sex with multiple clients on a daily basis.
Luckily, this woman was one of twenty-one women rescued by the police, and she has been returned back home to her family. The gang, consisting of men in their twenties and early thirties, were arrested on charges of trafficking, controlling prostitution and running a brothel – and were jailed for a total of sixty three years.
Whilst statistics regarding trafficking have been debated recently, the Home Office estimated in 2003 4,000 women were trafficked into the UK for prostitution. And we at STOP THE TRAFFIK know that that’s not even half the story – many people are trafficked around the world, within countries, and for a wide variety of exploitative purposes. People are treated as commodities – in this case the buyer is paying £3,000 for the girl, knowing that he will exploit her so that she eventually earn him a lot more money.
Young, ambitious women – and men – are at high risk for being trafficked into Britain, often after being tricked with promises of a better life in the UK. The Deputy Chief Superintendent of the MET police clubs and vice unit – Richard Martin – says his unit has rescued twenty five women this year, many of whom were tricked or kidnapped, then systematically abused, and forced to work against their will.
We at STOP THE TRAFFIK believe we can make a big difference to the continuation of human trafficking – we want to prevent the sale of people, protect the trafficked, and prosecute the traffickers! You can help us do this by educating, advocating and fundraising. Please check out our website for ways to get involved – our campaigns make a difference, just look at the progress with the chocolate industry!