Students in Norwich have given a dramatic twist to their campaign to bring a halt to the evil trade of human trafficking.
To capture the attention of city centre shoppers, students from the University of East Anglia organised “flash mobs” – sudden, unexpected street dances, which took place in and outside Topshop- they also put volunteers up for sale in the window of Body Shop.
The dramatic stunt was designed to highlight the plight of women and children who are sold into slavery every year.
It was the first in a series of events organised by the newly formed society at the University of East Anglia (UEA). STOP THE TRAFFIK UEA was set up by three students 2 months ago (March 2010), Emma Gooding, Charlotte Tucker and Martin Futter. Since Easter the society has grown from 3 members to over 200, as their passion for this global issue has spread throughout campus. Fiona Martin and Lisa Onyi have also joined the committee and have a real dream to make a difference and help end injustice.
Society members were delighted with the publics response to their activities and stunts. Many shoppers took time out to sign anti-trafficking petitions and lend their support to the cause. You can see a video of the event here
The BBC’s Panorama programme has also backed the student campaign, sending a chocolate bar made using child labour to help highlight the issue. The controversial chocolate bar was made on a recent show about trafficking and cocoa called ‘Chocolate: the bitter truth’.
STOP THE TRAFFIK UEA’s president Emma Gooding said: “If we don’t try to stop the injustices of this world then who will? This is the biggest injustice of them all. What is hard to believe is the lack of knowledge of the subject. It is as if the world’s governments are trying to hide these truths in order to brush the issue under the carpet.”
Contrary to what many people believe, human trafficking is not confined to parts of Asia or Eastern Europe. It is now a worldwide problem and many cases have been reported in the UK, including one of a young boy found in a Norwich Chinese restaurant.
“This is a horrific crime,” said society member Nicolas Lightfoot. “Some of the women are forced into sex slavery have to service 40 men a day. Children as young as three are taken from their homes and trafficked. Let’s get human trafficking on the political agenda.”
The society aims to raise awareness about heat breaking issue amongst the students in UEA and also amongst our city of Norwich. The local green candidate Adrian Ramsay has already shown interest in helping the students make a difference. They also hope to raise money to support to support the work of STOP THE TRAFFIK and the A21 Campaign.
If you have any questions on the issue or want to get involved in the society’s campaign, you can email them at email@example.com or join the ‘STOP THE TRAFFIK UEA’ Facebook group. To donate or support the cause visit www.stopthetraffik.org.
By Martin Futter