Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today…

….so I can wish you all a very fond farewell.

 

Today is my last day with STOP THE TRAFFIK and therefore my last blog post (well, almost. I want to reply to a comment left the child abuse image post so this will come in the next few days).

 

It has been joyous working with such a beautiful and supportive team.

It has been inspiring to work with and learn from you, our activists both near and far.

It has been fun writing and managing the blog, listening to your thoughts and comments.

It has been wonderful to meet Katy and talk to her about her new role with STOP THE TRAFFIK (I think Bex is secretly happy there will be one cleaner desk in the office!).

I have written a lot of resources, learned more than I imagined, been challenged, been inspired, cried at my desk, sworn at the phone and introduced the team to German techno (which they secretly love despite what they say).

So, one and all, with sadness and a lot of excitement to see Travel Alert! launch on Monday, I say farewell.

Elvis and Victoria have left the building.

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Women of the world UNITE!

Today is International Woman’s Day!

Today is the day we put our feet up and celebrate the very simple fact that we are and (in most cases) always will be women.

Wondering what to write, the women in our office tried to think of reasons why it is great to be a woman. Ourlist started with things like; we have soft skin, we are nurturing, we wear nice pants…  I was very quickly reminded how lucky I am being a woman in the UK.

Today, as I sit here with the sun streaming through the window, a friend I met at an anti-trafficking conference in Egypt is inspiring her fellow women to meet in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to use this day both a celebration and as a way of re-connecting with a political voice that was taken away and forgotten.

As I sit here, I know there are women and young girls working in a brothel I visited as part of a project run by Oasis India. I can see it perfectly; a narrow house in the middle of a district famous for its sex industry. Small sprawling rooms no bigger that a sauna but just as warm with at least 8-10 young women and girls in each, waiting for customers with a man guarding the door….. I think they would find my list insulting.

As I sit here with my Masters Degree I think about the girls denied an education because they are girls or because there are no girl’s toilets in their school or because the school is too far away. Pretty grim isn’t it?

To stop me hurling myself out the window in despair, I think a little bit deeper….

Sally in Egypt has taken to the streets. She may be surrounded by hundreds of empowered women, she may be there yelling on her own, it doesn’t matter how many people are there – the movement has start somehow. Admirably she has the drive to get up and fight for what she believes in.

I can see women sat in Mumbai’s brothels but I can also see the tiny lady from Oasis India talking to them and holding my arm for support. They won’t stop fighting for India’s untouchables.

Then I read an email from 3 mums in Australia who are taking part in Freedom Ticket for Life and want to raise money to get vulnerable girls into school.

Life’s funny isn’t it?

We are women and women rock. We have a voice; we should always use it because one thing we are good at is shrieking.

An excited to be a woman Victoria Kuhr

Child sex abuse images: A linguistic revolution

Right, here goes. Let’s cause linguistic mayhem.

I am sure most people reading this (hi mum!) are familiar with and may have used, terms like ‘child pornography’, ‘child prostitution’ and ‘underage prostitute’ (erhem Silvio Berlusconi).  Well, I reckon it’s time we stopped.

The words prostitution, prostitute and pornography are normalised and common in most societies around the world. Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with what they mean and what they stand for – the words themselves are used casually and have become assimilated into everyday language.

How about adding the word child?

Adding the word ‘child’ obviously adds a different dimension but essentially it has the same meaning; a child engaging in something that we talk about on a day to day basis, nothing out of the ordinary.

But it is out of the ordinary. It is a child.

I know laws around the world differ but essentially it is agreed that a child cannot, or does not choose out of free will to be involved in pornography or the sex industry without an element of coercion or force. Why then, is it given a normal name?

Surely child pornography should be reclassified as ‘child sex abuse images’ or ‘videos of children being abused’ because that is what they are. Child prostitution is not prostitution, it is abuse and rape. The end.

So I hereby call on you, beloved readers to help me shake things up.

Also, this use of lazy and inaccurate language may affect people who choose to look at, and engage in, child abuse. ‘It has a ‘normal’ name, so it can’t be that wrong’.  Maybe if we call it abuse (which it is) it would cause someone to stop and think.

C’mon world, let’s do it! Let’s call it what it is. It’s not pornography, it’s not prostitution it’s abuse and rape.

I declare from this moment on I will only use accurate terminology to describe child abuse.

I urge all of you and your friends to join my quest for a linguistic revolution.

Your slightly angry Victoria Kuhr

STOP THE TRAFFIK walking like Egyptians!

STOP THE TRAFFIK have just returned from a trip to Egypt.

We were invited to take part in a conference in Luxor called End Trafficking Now. The conference lasted 3 days and included:

– a live debate in Luxor temple recorded for BBC World Service (which was incidentally frustrating and left me grinding my teeth)
– a business award for commitments to anti-trafficking work
– talks by princesses (seriously), Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher

– debates hosted by CNN’s Jim ClancySTT freedom wall
– a film release

– a STOP THE TRAFFIK Freedom Wall!
– a lot of baklava

In true STOP THE TRAFFIK style, we were there to run a day with 130 young people. The first session was with a fabulous group of about 20 students from the International School in Genève.

They had to find creative ways to teach each other about different types of trafficking; the winning piece was a play on the controversial issue of trafficking for forced marriage. The presenter of Egypt TV saw it and asked some of those involved to go LIVE on TV to 5 million people! You can watch the interview here (it is in Arabic)

It was such a great experience and after our session we were all buzzing with ideas and plans to make Genève traffik aware!

 

 

 

 

The second session was a 5 hour seminar for 50 students from the Susan Mubarak women’s movement for peace (find out more here) and 50 international students. We met a lot of fantastic people, saw a lot of passion and now have plans to literally dominate the world (in a positive anti-trafficking way).

Here are some more picture of our working holiday trip enjoy!

 

 

 

It’s time to raise the bar Nestlé!

Dearest loveliest blog readers!

I write with exciting news…… well exciting for us, annoying for Nestlé

As I am sure you’re aware, over the last few years we have been working together to pressurize the chocolate industry into  making ethical and traffik free choices. The industry has responded and we now have more traffik free chocolate than ever before BUT…..

Abuse and exploitation continue…. Nestlé’s (pitiful) traffik free chocolate is only available in ONE BAR  (a meagre 1.1% of their entire chocolate range).

Is that good enough? NO!
Does Nestlé make a vast amount of money? YES!
Does this mean they should take responsibility and stop using trafficked child labour? ABSOLUTELY!

So dearly beloved, we are stepping up the Nestlé campaign. Send a postcard or letter to Nestlé (or if you are in America to Hershey).

What to do…….

1. Email info@stopthetraffik.org to order Nestlé postcards

2. Click HERE to download a Nestlé letter

3. Australia: To join 36000 others who have sent postcards, email stopthetraffik@gmail.com

4. America: click here to JOIN THE Hershey campaign in America

TRAFFICKING on the STREETS OF EUROPE

If you live in or visit a major European city / large town, you will have heard of children pick pocketing and be aware of the young boys, girls and women begging on busy streets and in tourist hotspots. I have seen this in London, Berlin and Barcelona.

When children or women, many from Roma communities in Central and Eastern Europe approach you saying ‘speak English?’, wearing tatty clothing and often carrying a baby, it is easy to brush them aside. Before you shoo them away next time, remember this….

Throughout Europe, the Roma community are discriminated against and live in relative poverty. Amnesty international found anti-Roma or anti-gypsy sentiment in every EU country and a 2007 UN report stated 70% of Roma housing did not have running water. This means Roma people do not have equal access to jobs, housing, health and education leaving them vulnerable to exploitation.

In the last 10 years there has been growing concern that members of the Roma community are being trafficked to the more prosperous countries of Western Europe.

Austria. Authorities found that some Roma children had been sold by their parents or kidnapped and were forced to beg / steal in Vienna. Victims had to earn €250 a day, if they did they were rented to paedophiles for €300 a day.

Italy. In 2007, police exposed a criminal gang controlling 50 Roma children

Spain. In 2007 authorities in Valencia uncovered a network of Romanian Roma adults trafficking and exploiting Roma children. Children were sold between gangs for €20,000 and if the victims did not ‘earn’ enough, they were sold at a daily rate to paedophiles

England. As part of wider police operation (Operation Golf), a man and woman were put in prison a few days ago for forcing 6 Roma children to beg up to 12 hours a day. Victims were not sent to school, had no access to doctors and some were sacred with cigarette burns.

To get the scale of the problem, Operation Golf found that between 2007 – 2010, over 1100 children have been trafficked out of one small town in Romania. That’s crazy.

I think this shocking trend shows that:

1) Stereotypes are dangerous and mean people don’t get the help they need

2) The Roma community need to be more aware of what is happening

3)  Roma villages and their larger community need to question where their children have gone whilst looking at all the massive new build houses and cars zipping past

4)  People in Western European countries may be encountering trafficking victims on a daily basis. Keep your eyes open for our new ACT resource helping you SPOT and STOP THE TRAFFIK in your area to be released this autumn


Want to find out more….

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-10819894

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/crime/article3247821.ece

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/nov/23/roma-children-alleged-trafficking-manchester

http://www.childtrafficking.com/Docs/situational_rep_tra_albania_0109.pdf

UK Home Office Affairs Committee (2009), the Trade in Human Beings. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200809/cmselect/cmhaff/23/2304.htm

http://www.antislavery.org/english/press_and_news/news_and_press_releases_2009/200410_londons_met_police_help_bust_child_trafficking_gang_in_romania.aspx

Secret Diary of a STOP THE TRAFFIK worker

Good day to you, dear blog reader. 

There are two things to report this week. 

1.A few days ago I was offered a place in the British 10km run on Sunday 11th July (T  minus 10 days).  Now, I’ve always thought it’d be nice to do a run but I am not a runner (at all) and the idea of training for weeks and injecting protein supplements into my eye sockets has been enough to deter me (please don’t try that) . But loving a challenge, I said ‘sure thing. I’d love to’. 

I got up early this morning and ran for 20 minutes. On Saturday I will run / jog very very slowly for 25 minutes building up to an hour in 10 days (I am not going to dwell on the maths of my training plan). 

The point is, I am doing it. I am going to run.  The reason I tell you this is that if I can do it, so can you!  Try it, I dare you! Go outside and jog / walk / run / hobble / race on your wheels for 8 minutes. You’d be surprised. And when you get back feeling simultaneously energised, great and tired check out www.freedomticketforlife.org.    

 Wristbands out, lycra outfits on! 

 2. A number of people find our blog by typing things like ‘sexy girls Mumbai’ or ‘Kamathipura’ into search engines. So yesterday we posted something an unsuspecting internet user will get instead highlighting the reality of the situation there. Have a read here https://stopthetraffik.wordpress.com/2010/06/30/kamathipura-%e2%80%93-the-dirt-uncovered

SECRET DIARY of a STOP THE TRAFFIK worker. A question of humor.

 G’day everybody!

It has been a long time since I cast my thoughts on the blog. I’ve been busy writing the NEW ACT stuff– don’t forget to check it out at www.stopthetraffik.org/act

Now I have a bit more time, I will be back with my regular blog spot. Here’s entry number 1… 

My buddy Preston sent me an article about an online community who may have helped save 2 girls from an unknown, murky fate. You can read it here http://motherjones.com/mojo/2010/05/metafilter-russian-sex-ring – it’s interesting (shorter version here http://blog.newsweek.com/blogs/thehumancondition/archive/2010/05/21/excl…  

The article and situation are both very interesting and show how important it is to raise awareness and tell as many people as possible about the dangers of human trafficking. 

The thing that struck me though, were the comments people made after the article.  One said ‘i am glad they’re safe etc, but were they hot?’ 

To which someone replied….. 

‘Yes, it’s hilarious to make jokes about young women who might have become sex slaves. Because, you know, if they were HOT, it makes it cool to fantasize about having sex with them against their will (aka raping them)’ 

followed by…

‘.. like most human beings, now that the crisis is over, I’ll find a bit of humor in it…’ 

Similarly, I watched a TV show being recorded last week where the host made a joke about girls who’d been trafficked into the sex industry.  At first I was shocked but then I thought about it and realised that for trafficking to be mentioned on mainstream TV at all – especially on a comedy show – may mean that trafficking is no longer such a hidden crime and it is a good and positive sign that people are more clued into the issue.  

So here are my thoughts…..

Is it ok to make jokes about things like trafficking if it sparks debate? Is it ok to excuse something being said for comedy value if it means a term or issue is more understood / in the public domain? Do we use humor as a way of processing and dealing with horrific information? If so, why haven’t there been loads of holocaust comedies?

I don’t know, it’s just got me thinking. Think with me…….

RUNNING…OUT OF STYLE, FOR FREEDOM!

Hi everyone!

We’ve just gone LIVE with our BRAND NEW website FREEDOM TICKET FOR LIFE! Here we are in the office looking a bit silly but in high spirits for the launch!

The project focuses on providing an education to girls most vulnerable to trafficking. We believe that the longer a girl is in education, the less likely she is to being trafficked. When she is in school, she is in a safe environment & when she finishes, the more choices she has about her future.

You can all get involved with our exciting new FREE:ME Avatar and the opportunity to take part and get sponsored to RUN for FREEDOM!

Read about all the exciting new Education projects taking place in anti-trafficking HOT SPOTS around the world that you can become involved with by raising money through running -or crawling! Check it out here:

www.freedomticketforlife.org

Lives are waiting to be changed with your help- so give vulnerable girls their FREEDOM TICKET FOR LIFE!

We hope you get on board and have a fabulous weekend!

Secret Diary writer on the telly!

Good day everybody!

It’s been a long time since my last entry in the (not so) Secret Diary of a STOP THE TRAFFIK Worker series. That’s because my rocking intern Georgia is so good at pretty much everything, I have left her largely in charge.

A while ago we were phoned by Al Jazeera (who are, by the way an excellent source of news) for an interview about Moldova. Having studied the Former Soviet Union, I had the rather exciting task of going on the telly! (If that wasn’t exciting enough, I now finally know what’s under the newsreader’s desk and that helps me sleep a little easier at night)

STOP THE TRAFFIK on the tellybox (there is a few seconds delay at the beginning)

It did not FALL: A tribute to David Hasselhof

Today is a special historical day. 20 years ago, by sheer miscommunication, the division between West and East Germany (DDR), and in many respects the conflict between Soviet and Capitalist / East and West began to grind to a halt.

If you read articles about the Berlin Wall, you would think that the 155 km, anti tank concrete wall around West Berlin toppled over, that it fell. Well, I am hear to tell you it DID NOT fall! In fact, the word ‘fall’ is so inaccurate a description of what happened I am going to set it straight once and for all!

Things began changing in 1985 when Gorbachev became powerful in the Soviet Union. By 1989, things had changed and people were leaving East Germany via Hungary and a complex train system from Czechoslovakia. The East German government needed to find a way to stop thousands of people taking well timed holidays to Hungary and Czechoslovakia and decided to grant permission for a few select people to cross into the West if it was a necessity and they had a passport. This new plan was set to start in a few days time.

A chap called Gunter Schabowski (new press person in the DDR) went on stage to give a live, global media conference about a change in government. Stuffed in his pocket was a note he was asked last minute to read out, live on TV. Now this bit of paper is key. On it was a message about the easing of travel to West Germany. Problem was that Gunter had no idea what he was talking about, he had no idea bout it starting in a few days and that you needed a passport. Adding to the nightmare, there was no relevant information on the paper.

The conference ended like this…

Gunter: I have one more announcement (gets paper out of his pocket)… people from the East will be … err….. (scratches head)… hmm…. able to travel into the West.

Press floor: Sharp intake of breath

Journalist: What do we need to cross the border?

Gunter: (looks at paper, finds no answer)… well, umm… I guess, and in my opinion, you don’t actually need anything to cross

press: (gasps of excitement) when does this new rocking plan start?

 Gunter: err… well…. hmmm…. I guess it starts… umm…. right now.

ROOM EMPTY. Everyone dashing to cross and see friends and family they have not seen for years.

At the Berlin Wall tens of thousands of people began accumilating at the crossing points (of which there were 14 with 7 running through the centre of the city). The border patrol men had no idea what to do, no idea what was going on and were totally overwhelmed. They had two options, kill everyone or let people cross. They didn’t have enough bullets to kill everyone, so they let people cross.

Once people had crossed they started attacking and making holes in the Berlin wall. It was then deconstructed, along with most Eastern Governments over the course of the following year. Germany was reunited a year later on 3 October 1990.

So, where is this amazing story is it appropriate to say the Berlin wall fell? It was smashed, it was crossed it was attacked, but fell? ‘Fell’ requires no united action so how is it a good way to describe the amazing events of 9th November 1989.

Anyway, ranting aside.

The Hoff sung this song about freedom by the Berlin wall in a fantastic coat so think it appropriate to share it with you.

There is the link to trafficking….. Freedom! He sung for freedom, we campaign for freedom? Are you with me?!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zXiClnK8oE

Your ever so slightly irrate Victoria Kuhr

SECRET DIARY WRITER: Rapping Nestles knuckles with wrappers

Hi everybody!
It’s CHOCOLATE WEEK!

We are being encouraged to eat and bath and rub ourselves with chocolate this week.

I say, YEEEHA, sounds like fun. Let’s do it but make sure it’s FAIR TRADE.

I have an idea though that you should save your fair trade wrappers, write a little note on the back and send them to Nestle. You can write about human rights, child trafficking, them not knowing where their beans come from, transparency in supply chains, them not living up to promises, the ICI… you have a heap of things to pick from! For inspiration check out our chocolate pages on the website and this blog post

Please let me know if you post stuff and if you hear anything in repsonse!

Let’s sock it to Nestle!
GRRRRRR.

Secret Diary Writer airs her frustrations (again)

Secret Diary writer airs her frustrations.

Now, I know I have now started two of these posts of late having a bit of a moan but this is something I feel I have to get off my chest…

I know all countries around the world are feeling the impact of the current global money madness (am bored of writing and hearing the words rece**ion, cru?ch, dow!-turn and have banned them from my vocabulary) BUT, the following is ridiculous.

You know, I don’t think I need to actually write anything, I’ll just show you two headlines and maybe you can guess why I have come to the conclusion that someone out there has got their priorities all mixed up.

 

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SECRET DIARY WRITER shares her writing

I had to write a piece for a girls teen magazine so thought I’d share it with you….

 

Trading lives

How much does it cost to buy a new summer dress?

How much do you think it would cost to buy the person making the dress?

Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? Surely you can’t buy a person? What may seem ridiculous is actually a sad reality: you can buy a person and they’re not that expensive.

Buying and selling people – know as human trafficking – is the fastest growing global trade. Every year hundreds of thousands (some say millions) of people are up for sale, on the market, available to the highest bidder. And like a summer dress, when it’s been worn or the owner becomes bored, it is sold to someone else and replacement.

Human trafficking is to be taken, tricked or forced into leaving your home and being exploited and treated like a slave in places like a factory, someone’s house or the sex industry. You can be trafficked to another country or just another part of your own city.

Every single day when you’re at school, 420 people will be trafficked internationally.

 

Roshni’s story.

I am from a small Indian village. My parents didn’t have enough money to pay for both me and my brother to go to school, so I stay home. Looking for a way to earn money, I asked an employment agency what a girl with little reading and writing skills could do. A wonderful man said he had the perfect job in the fashion industry! I was so excited; I’ve never had fashionable clothes!

Now I work in a cramped, dusty, sewing factory in a little side street in a Mumbai slum. I work at least 9 – 12 hours a day, have little to eat and the ‘wonderful accommodation’ turned out to be a mattress on the factory floor with 15 others. The air is so thick with chemicals and dust I find it hard to breath. I had to borrow money to get here so have to keep working until it’s paid off, which could be forever.

Taken from the book STOP THE TRAFFIK. People Shouldn’t be Bought and Sold

 

This story is not unusual. All over the world people are being transported into lives they didn’t choose. From being trafficked onto a cocoa plantation in Cote D’Ivoire to an older boyfriend in Northampton forcing you to work as a prostitute, from a country far away to your own high street – it’s happening and 80% of victims are girls and women.

Why women and girls?

Countless facts show that women and girls are more likely to be affected by poverty, more likely to be left in conflict zones, more likely to be in refugee camps, more likely to be economically discriminated against, less likely to go to school and less likely to have absolute control over their own lives, bodies and futures. Women are also objectified, much more than men, in pretty much every society.

OBJECTified. Object. Something you can you buy something you can own.

It’s in these conditions that traffickers select their victims and sew their lies. In a culture where women and girls are worth less, seen as objects and have limited workplace skills, a trafficker doesn’t have to promise the world, just something better with more options, like a job selling ice-cream in London (the 15 year old who took that job was sold in Heathrow airport for £4000 and forced into prostitution).

To learn about issues connecting girls and trafficking, as well as finding out how your story can meet Roshni’s, join STOP THE TRAFFIK’s new campaign START FREEDOM.

If we don’t unite globally to combat trafficking, next to the dress stand at your local market you may soon be able to buy a 13 year old dress maker.

Sign up, get on board: you have the power to make a difference, it’s time to use it.

Secret diary of a STOP THE TRAFFIK worker

Hello everybody!

I have been silent. Not because I am a naturally quiet person, oh no. Rather because I have been busy with our new interns (who I am looking at right now – both of which are fantastic).

I had a super weekend basking (like a cat) in the sun. In between slapping on sun cream, eating ice cream and drinking mojitos, I visited a Convent in London and it was fantastic.

I am a non-religious person myself so was a little nervous at first but it was absolutely incredible (and, most conferences and meetings I go to last hours with limited time for conversations with grass roots active community members who are actually going to do something. In the convent however, every 1 hour of talking was followed by a 30 minute biscuit break. Biscuits and chatting. Two of my favourite things)

The nuns bought some books, read all the info I took them, asked excellent questions and were so keen and motivate to get cracking on their anti-trafficking campaign I was totally inspired.

To be inspired by people I had automatically judged I had nothing in common with was a great reminder that it doesn’t matter who we are, what background or faith we come from or what community we live in because we all want the same thing. We all want to reduce the pain and harm suffered by other people.

(by the way, I know i sound totally cheesy but it is true!)

Other than that, I had to write a very last minute article for a girl’s teen magazine. After it is published I will put it up on the blog in case you are interested to read my musings.

I hope that wherever you are and whatever you are doing you are having a nice, proactive day.

P.s I am beginning to feel a seasonal bout of hayfever. I wish I could take out my eyes and wash them in cold water.

SECRET DIARY of a STOP THE TRAFFIK worker

Goodness me, what a week that was. I spent last week at a festival in the UK talking to new supporters and meeting up with old ones. As such the blog is a little behind the times.

But now I am back, and I have a bizarre little number puzzle for you today….

For the whole of 2006 / 2007, the UK Human Trafficking Centre – the main coordinating point for trafficking and referrals in the UK – got £1.7 million from the British government for all the work they do. This was said to be increasing to £4 million over the next few years.

Remember: £1.7 million ….

For one of its projects and areas of concern, the Department of Environment and Research are putting an extra £2m (topped up by other research bodies to make a whopping £10 million) into researching (drum roll) …. bees and butterflies.

Isn’t that crazy?

I know bees and other pollinators are important, and I am not in any way suggesting that this research isn’t needed but, it clearly highlight the rather insignificant amount of money the British Government is putting into anti – trafficking measures.

I also appreciate that the Government puts cash into a few projects like the POPPY project who provide beds for rescued female victims of trafficking, but even they don’t get enough to fund as many beds as they need.

Bees vs. People. That is the question.

NEWS FLASH: STOP THE TRAFFIK’s first book goes on sale

 

‘I was trafficked, I survived. What would you do if it was your daughter, son, brother or sister? Read this book, it will answer some of your questions        UK Trafficking Survivor and friend of STOP THE TRAFFIK

 

 

The world is just acknowledging trafficking as the world’s fastest growing crime with an increase in hard hitting headlines and challenging debates.  Sometimes just understanding the causes, issues and statistics can seem like a scary and challenging task. STOP THE TRAFFIK’s new book: STOP THE TRAFFIK: People Shouldn’t be Bought or Sold has been written to help you understand this hidden world.

 

STOP THE TRAFFIK: People Shouldn’t be Bought or Sold is a story of the human suffering, pain and abuse affecting millions of men, women and children all around the world. It is a story relevant to every community, every second of every day. It is the story of people without human rights.

 

It is also a story of hope.

 

Around the world, together we have shown that

small actions

on a big scale

make a huge difference.

 

To help you continue your fight against trafficking, this book gives you plenty of ideas so you can make traffik free choices and learn how as communities and individuals, to ACT and help STOP THE TRAFFIK

 

‘It is important that society does not turn a blind eye to this issue. It can be happening on the street where you live, work or socialize.  Law enforcement agencies across the world are focusing on this on-going tragedy and they need the help of friends, neighbours and people in agencies. Don’t turn a blind eye’   

Andy Baker (2009) Deputy Director UK. Serious Organised Crime Agency

 

       

Using an engaging mix of real-life stories and bite-size factoids, this thought-provoking book successfully transforms a complicated, horrific global problem into an understandable local fight.

 

As Emma Thompson says ‘make no mistake about it, trafficking is torture. It must not be allowed to continue – this book will help you to do your part, so please, please buy it and join the fight’   

 

Please click here to buy your copy http://www.stopthetraffik.org/shop/book.aspx  

 

If you cannot buy the book, why not ask your local library – in your school, university, town, or place of work to stock it.

SECRET DIARY of a STOP THE TRAFFIK worker

Hello everybody!

 I wonder if any one can help me. I was at a party last week and someone asked if STOP THE TRAFFIK had a Twitter account saying it would be a great way to engage with the masses.

I have since signed up and after forgetting my password and user name three times in 2 days, I am now able to log in.

So what happens next?

I am confused.

SECRET DIARY WRITER lets off steam…

You would think that journalists over the world – people who are responsible (and paid) to keep us up-to-date with global news – would make sure what they were reporting was accurate.

This morning my lovely colleague Simon came in saying ‘did you read the paper? Three trafficked women have been rescued from domestic servitude in London’.

 The story read that three brothers married three Pakistani women as arranged marriages.  The women were flown into the UK expecting to lead normal happy lives with their husbands.

Upon arrival, they discovered that their husbands were already married and the women were sent to live with their new mother in law where they were forced to cook, clean, sew … (i.e. domestic servitude)

They were not allowed out, had no freedom and regularly beaten. The situation came to light 13 years after they arrived in  the UK when one of the women’s sons turned to a nursery teacher and said ‘granny beats mummy’.

The people in question are being charged with something like kidnapping / abduction.

Definition: TRAFFICKING                                                                                    

 Dislocation by deception or coercion for exploitation (moved by being forced or tricked into a situation of exploitation)

Three women thinking they were getting a good deal, moved abroad and exploited….. Sounds like trafficking to me.

The word ‘trafficked’ did not feature ANYWHERE in the article.

From previous research, I know that news stories in England (even the BBC!), Canada, America, United Arab Emirates, India, Moldova, Israel [please insert the name of any country you can think of here]… have mixed up smuggling / kidnapping / illegal immigration and trafficking.

So, to help clarify…….

Definition: SMUGGLING     

  • illegal immigration –  entering or staying illegally in a country                                                                      
  • middle men – people who help organise staying or moving illegally for money
  • a WILLLING PERSON who asks for help crossing a border or help staying in a country illegally

Obviously there are similarities between trafficking and smuggling. Traffickers often smuggle victims across borders illegally BUT smuggling is limited to helping people arrive / stay. Upon arrival, smuggled people are left and not controlled by the organisation who facilitated their entry / stay. This can change and smugglers could turn into traffickers but then it is not smuggling it is TRAFFICKING….. Does that make sense?

To make progress in law, policy and public awareness these mix ups have got to stop. They confuse people and help hide the scale and extent of trafficking

So, lovely readers, I hereby challenge you to keep your eyes open and when your local / national / international press get these differences confused, write to the journalists and newspapers explaining the differences so they can accurately report what they are writing about in future.

If this does not make sense to anyone and the differences are confusing in any way, or if you have any questions, post a comment and I will get back to you!

SECRET DIARY OF A STOP THE TRAFFIK WORKER

Well, it has been a busy few weeks in the office.

 

In case my diary passed you by last week and you were left thinking ‘Not having time to write her own blog post… what is she up to? I can’t wait to find out!’ I thought I’d compile a list the top three things that happened at STOP THE TRAFFIK last week (egocentric, me?!) ….

 

1. Steve Chalke (STOP THE TRAFFIK’s founder) wrote a book called STOP THE TRAFFIK: People Shouldn’t be Bought or Sold (cracking title, eh?!). The book is brilliant (and not just because I researched some of it!), there is even a chapter written by Cherie Blair.

Last week we had a book launch! It was so much fun. A lovely lady called Doris came from the UN, Cherie Blair was here, as was a chap from the Serious Organised Crime Agency. We had STOP THE TRAFFIK cup-cakes (with the hand print logo on) and fizzy wine – both were delicious.

What made the day really special was seeing some students from a local school – they were talking to people from the UN, had a personal hello from Cherie AND asked one of the best questions during the panel discussion! Go Girls!

2. We launched a new chocolate campaign! After lots of hard work and sentences starting ‘ok, can you write [emails / fact sheets / letters to Mars] in under 20 minutes?’  we got it all ready and live on the internet this weekend. Brilliant! Cadbury’s are changing, if we all take a few minutes to March on Mars we can kick start the traffik free chocolate snowball….  www.marchonmars.org

 

3. I helped put up an exhibition at the Museum of Childhood (review coming Friday). I went to see it last week and fell in love with the place! It was like walking into a box of candy floss! They have an excellent shop and I spent a good 15 minutes on Friday afternoon trying to decide if I should buy my niece butterfly wings or a mask of a roaring lion. I went for the lion….

 

 

Secret Diary of a STOP THE TRAFFIK worker…

Hello everybody!

I just wanted to personally say a huge thank you to all those who voted for STOP THE TRAFFIK in the Kiwi Millionaire’s challenge to win $10000!

I have to admit, I became slightly addicted to checking up on how we were doing!

After I posted a request for help on the blog, I was absolutely thrilled to see the votes begin to come pouring in. By the time the deadline came you managed to rack up had over 40,000 votes. 40,000! (In case you missed what I just said, STOP THE TRAFFIK received over 40,000 votes!).

It is brilliant to know there are so many of you out there checking in, poised and ready to throw yourselves into action.

Now we just have to help Kiwi Millionaire raise the money! http://www.justgiving.com/ryankilfoil I will update you on his progress as it happens! Thanks a lot everybody!

Victoria

Secret Diary Writer needs your help…

Dear reader,

This week, I have a favour to ask…….

As a charity organisation we are not funded by government / the EU or any other body for that matter. This means we rely totally on the generosity of our supporters to keep our campaigns alive and growing.

A lovely chap in New Zealand is going to run a marathon collecting money for charity along the way (he is hoping for $10000). He has listed a number of big, well-know charities on his website and is asking people to vote who should get the cash. One of the charities you can vote for is (dadada) STOP THE TRAFFIK!

The problem is that not many people are clued up to the scale and size of trafficking so when it comes to voting and funding, trafficking (despite being a mass violation of human rights)  always gets overlooked. PLEASE HELP!

STOP THE TRAFFIK need that money! With that much money we can:

       set up community groups to research trafficking potential in their area

       expand the businesstravellers.org website which is seeing a growing number of  tip-offs leading to the rescue of victims of trafficking

       finalise the global webcast (a resource filmed from the UN in New York. It will be translated into 6 languages and aimed at raising awareness among communities who are at risk and in schools where other people can act as the voice of those who are victims)

       campaign for the eradication of child trafficking in the cocoa industry 

If you have a second, PLEASE check out this website and get STOP THE TRAFFIK some votes! http://thekiwimillionaire.com/


THE DEALDINE IS IN 3 DAYS….

Get voting and send the link to as many people as you can!

Thank you for helping STOP THE TRAFFIK remain a force fighting traffikers

Victoria Kuhr

Secret Diary…

This week, I was SUPPOSED to be going to a college in Essex and a school in Surrey to talk about trafficking.

For the college students, I prepared a presentation and exercises looking at human rights and how societal attitudes and perceptions make women more vulnerable to trafficking. I was quite excited about it as I don’t normally, so blatantly, confront the issues of cultural attitudes towards women – it is always such a dangerous hot topic.

When the time came to think about my message I thought ‘You know what? I reckon it’s time to really challenge the causes of trafficking – how long can you stick a plaster over something this horrific without getting down to the nitty-gritty’. Armed with a steadfast belief in human rights I was truly looking forward to it.

For the year 7s it is obviously inappropriate to talk about sex trafficking so I was planning to talk to the students about trafficking in the cocoa industry – it is a great lesson with laughter, drama and video footage of boys rescued from the Cote d’Ivoire. Again, excited by the prospect of engaging young people in huge social issues I was ready to go.

But I didn’t go.

Because it snowed.

So I made a really rocking snowman instead.

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.