When you volunteer to go out onto the streets of Glasgow you have to brace yourself for the unexpected. Whilst you know you can always rely on the Glasgow patter, you don’t expect such unrelenting, searing heat. Scottish skin doesn’t always cope well with such weather. However, between dashes to the shops for fluids and factor 30 we have had a wonderful experience of raising awareness of human trafficking in Scotland. We have had tremendously encouraging discussions with people from around the country and from the other side of the world, the vast majority of whom have shared our desire to see this terrible practice eradicated. Only a handful of people turned away in disappointment when they realised we weren’t actually offering them work, as the boxes imply!
When you aren’t talking about the football, Glaswegians have a tremendous sense of togetherness. Despite the reputation as atough city, Glasgow’s people share a palpable sense of common humanity and a spirit of generosity. It is no surprise, therefore, that when we talk about human trafficking there is a real sense of outrage that such exploitation would happen anywhere, let alone in our city.
Human trafficking doesn’t appear to be an entirely new issue for the majority of people we speak to. Most have heard about it, read about it in books, or seen Liam Neeson dismantle trafficking rings single-handedly in Taken. However, the idea that people are being exploited within a short distance of where they live and work is genuinely shocking to many of the people we have spoken to. Upon hearing that children may be being exploited in nearby tenements; that men are forced to work in our agriculture and fisheries or that women are being held in brothels there is a sense of outrage and a willingness to take action. Our petition to the Scottish Government, asking them to include measures on supply chains, has proven extremely popular.
As we reach the half-way point the weather has turned. The heavens have opened and the city feels more like home again. However we expect more of the same from the visitors to our GIFT Boxes: a feisty determination to see the end of human trafficking in Scotland.
Euan Fraser – Stop The Traffik Glasgow
Stop The Traffik Glasgow are operating the UN.GIFT Boxes in partnership with More Than Gold 2014. If you’re in Glasgow and would like to find out more about how to get involved, see the links below.