CHAIR OF STOP THE TRAFFIK APPOINTED OBE IN 2017 HONOURS LIST

STOP THE TRAFFIK is thrilled to celebrate the announcement that Caroline Taylor has been appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in this New Year 2017 Honours list for services to Marketing, Diversity and Prevention of Human Trafficking.

Caroline has been a member of the STOP THE TRAFFIK board since its inception in 2007, and held the position of Chair of the board since 2011. Caroline leads the board with an exceptional blend of skill, wisdom, creativity and passion.

 caroline-taylor

Ruth Dearnley, CEO of STOP THE TRAFFIK said: 

‘Caroline’s unique contribution to STOP THE TRAFFIK facilitates a clear and strong governance which has kept us moving forward whether we are in times of plenty or famine with our resources. We benefit from her ability to reach for the innovative, to inspire and to support the staff team as we have sought to pioneer and imagine new ways to prevent the buying and selling of people around the world. Caroline constantly challenges us to be both wise and brave. This award recognises Caroline’s extraordinary contribution and we celebrate with her and her family and friends; congratulations Caroline and thank you for all you do for STOP THE TRAFFIK!”

Caroline is also a trustee of the Oasis Global charity, of which STOP THE TRAFFIK is a subsidiary. Steve Chalke, the founder of Oasis and STOP THE TRAFFIK, commented:

‘Caroline’s capacity to grapple with the complexities of the global and forever changing crime of Human Trafficking allied to her ability to work with and guide the team of wonderful activists who make up our staff has been, and remains, central to the vital campaigning and preventive work of STOP THE TRAFFIK. And the most remarkable thing is that she does all this in her spare time!’

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Freedom means escape and an education

I’ve just visited one of the projects your money supports through Freedom Ticket for Life; Children on the Edge’s project in Mae Sot in Thailand on the border with Burma.

Burma has been under military rule for many years and different ethnic groups have been under attack ever since (the military is literally trying to destroy them).  Whole villages have been wiped out and civilians murdered. Arefugee camp we went to has been there over twenty years and houses more than 20,000 people waiting (most of them for years) to be moved and placed in another country. We also saw a clinic where mine victims were being fitted with prosthetic limbs.
As you can imagine, situations of such turmoil result in many children being orphaned and many more being sent by families unaccompanied across the border for safety. This makes them very vulnerable to being trafficked.

The projects you support through Freedom Ticket for Lif e are a children’s crisis centre and an attached school that give girls and boys the chance for a safe place to live, recover, receive counselling and get an education.
When we arrived the place was in working order but one wall was desperately in need of repair, the toilets weren’t finished and the courtyard was nothing but dirt and rubble.

Amazingly, right before our eyes and because of your money, materials arrived and work began! By the end of our visit, the building was complete and the transformation wonderful. Young girls now have somewhere clean, safe and sanitary to learn, develop and grow into a life with more hope and opportunity. Without you, this would not have been possible.


Thirty–seven girls and a similar number of boys are cared for and schooled by these two linked projects. Many children are very sad and traumatised but the staff are amazing, very caring and committed. About ten percent of the children have been trafficked and the rest would be extremely vulnerable to trafficking if they were not at the Children’s Crisis Centre.
While we were there, we and people from Give Way to Freedom who are working with us on this project, ran an art therapy session. The children were given T-shirts and encouraged to draw something on them which made them happy. One girl drew an orchid, she said her family grew them in Burma and she drew orchids when ever she missed them. Another boy drew a picture of mountains and his parents waving goodbye.

We asked them what freedom meant to them. Many children replied that it was to be free from control and able to go to school. One child said ‘freedom is when people help you to escape and give you an education. We believe that too and that’s why the donations to Freedom Ticket for Life are so precious, they enable trafficked children to be free.

To do your bit and find out more go to www.freedomticketforlife.org

Phil Lane, STOP THE TRAFFIK Belguim.

Bitter Sweet update on Chocolate…

Hey Everyone!

Here’s an update on what’s currently happening in Europe around the chocolate industry, thanks to Antoinie, STOP THE TRAFFIK Netherlands:

Last week Thursday, Tulane University published their latest report on trafficking and the worst forms of child labour in the cocoa industry of West Africa. The findings were shocking, to say the least. They had done a new research among kids that had worked in the cocoa industry of Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana. All of the kids they spoke to who had worked in cocoa had been the victims of the worst forms of child labour. From the kids that came from Mali, two thirds had been trafficked. From the kids that came from Burkina Faso almost three quarters had been trafficked. 

The issue of child trafficking in cocoa is still very much alive.

What makes this report so surprising, is that Tulane University was hired by the industry to report on progress. So this is not a critical group of NGO’s that are claiming this, this is actually commissioned by the people receiving the flack. In fact, the report states that all the current initiatives are nowhere near enough to end child trafficking and other worst forms of child labour in cocoa production. 

Coincidentally, the day after the report was released, a whole bunch of European charities and industry were at a conference. So we got everybody together, including the big companies, to talk about what the next steps are. It is clear that industry needs to step up their effort, and it is clear that NGO’s worldwide need to step up their call for change. The discussions with industry will continue, but we need to see change. And we need to see it quickly. 

A first step that we made as NGO’s was to make a European wide press release, which has been picked up in various countries. In Holland, where I work, we saw it on most of the major news portals, it was discussed on radio, and we even got some pretty critical questions asked in Parliament. These are just first steps, though. There are too many children still being trafficked, there are too few things done to change it at the moment. 

We’ll continue to keep the pressure on the companies, who are making billions of dollars each year, to really start making a difference! 

Antonie

Keep an eye out for the next exciting phase of our Chocolate Campaign to see soon at www.stopthetraffik.org/chocolate

Love Running, UK

There was a “Bristol 10K” run that took place on Sunday May 9th, 2010. Remarkably, over 10,000 people ran that day, 500 of who formed a special team called “Love Running”.

Love Running (http://www.woodlandschurch.net/love-running) was set up by the Woodland’s Church in Bristol. Their major aim was quite literally seeing love running through their communities and into situations of exploitation and suffering. That is why they teamed up with STOP THE TRAFFIK to take a stand against the trafficking of people and help raise money for our FREEDOM TICKET FOR LIFE campaign.

FREEDOM TICKET FOR LIFE backs projects in trafficking hot spots around the world that give vulnerable girls an education. The longer a girl is in education, the less vulnerable she is to being trafficked. Education and training means choice; choice means freedom!

An incredible £47,607 was raised through Love Running! This will go towards helping girls like Cho.

Seven year-old Cho lived in a small village in Burma. One day, her parents were tricked into letting her leave with a man who promised her a great opportunity to earn money. Cho soon found herself in Mae Sot, locked in a room. Thankfully police raided the house where Cho was help captive and she is now getting help at a children’s Crisis Centre, supported by Freedom Ticket For Life.

What makes ‘Love Running’ so special is that it is not just a result of outrage at stories such as Cho’s – it is a result of a community acting upon that outrage and doing something about it. If you’d like to get involved in your community, why not support FREEDOM TICKET FOR LIFE. Raise money by RUNNING, WALKING, CRAWLING, HOBBLING or racing on WHEELS to give a girl an education – her life long ticket to freedom! See how here: www.freedomticketforlife.org

You can listen to the presentation where Woodland’s gave STOP THE TRAFFIK the cheque here: http://www.woodlandschurch.net/Love-Running-Grand-Finale and see more here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SC-JAc3oDXE

Deadly weapon-humble bar

Today I’d like to summarise some of a great speech by Thomas Horton of Oasis Academy Immingham. I found it inspirational and hope you do to. Here goes:

Chemical. Nuclear. Biological. These are all weapons that we hear about but today I want to talk to you about one of the world’s deadliest weapons…that many people will have come into contact with today. Some people will have bought one. Some may have even walked into this room, past security, with the weapon…I am not talking about a gun or a knife. I am talking about a bar of chocolate.

There are very few subjects that affect as many people as something like chocolate. Who doesn’t like to indulge in a bar from time to time? …Yes, there’s always one who doesn’t but we know that it is at the top of the supermarket list, at birthdays, Easter, Christmas, for Valentine’s day, for Mother’s day, for Father’s day, to say thank you and inevitably to say sorry.

But very few people realise that they are fuelling one of the fastest growing industries worldwide involving over 2.4 million people when they buy their bar of chocolate” supporting an industry that “violates human rights, that has no respect for a person, that treats people like objects, that splits families and that destroys lives. It supports human-trafficking.

Human Trafficking is to be deceived or taken against your will, bought, sold and transported into slavery for sexual exploitation, sweat shops, child brides, circuses, sacrificial worship, forced begging, sale of human organs, farm labour, domestic servitude. It is where parents can receive as little as $20 in exchange for their children.”

Are the parents to blame? The vicious people willing to accept $20 for their children? Or is it as simple as that? “As parents, if somebody offered your child the chance of a better life, where they would have clean clothes, enough food and a good education, would you refuse? Would you deny your child of these things? If you were offered a little money that would also buy food for you other children or provide some medicine for your ageing parents, would you refuse? I would not. I could not.

…How could we not raise awareness of such atrocities happening in the twenty first century? How could we not help to tackle this problem that is relevant in even our own country? How could we turn a blind eye? The ‘how could we not’s’ did not feature for a long time in our minds. Very quickly, it turned to ‘How could we make a difference?’”

On the back of getting unsatisfactory answers from an original campaign to Nestle, Thomas aimed at getting 300 letters to them from every student in his academy. This has extended to every person taught in or who works in an Oasis academy. “Wouldn’t 10,000 letters be annoying? Wouldn’t 10,000 letters show Nestle that we were passionate about ‘traffik-free’ chocolate?”

“Inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes.” Thomas’ is the humble chocolate bar. What’s yours?

Read more about our Chocolate campaign here www.stopthetraffik.org/chocolate

FESTIVAL OF FREEDOM Success!

As part of a Freedom Festival on 17 July 2010, organizers in Worthing held a back garden party, where they laid on some live music, invited friends and neighbours, sold drinks and cakes to raise money, and used STOP THE TRAFFIK materials to raise awareness in their community!

34 adults and 9 children attended the festival which raised just over £100! According to the organizers, the weather was beautiful before the gusty wind got the better of one of the gazebos! They hope to “keep raising awareness of this issue and make it increasingly difficult for traffickers to work in the UK.”

We think this is such a great example of what the campaign is all about and urge you all to have your own FESTIVAL OF FREEDOM soon!

See the fantastic pictures below!

And please visit http://www.stopthetraffik.org/takeaction/festival/

Oasis Youth Theatre continue to WOW Audiences & the UN!

All England winners Lord’s Hill OASIS YOUTH THEATRE wowed the audience at their performance of One Million to…STOP THE TRAFFIK in London’s Oasis centre on Monday night in front of UN representative Sandra Kozeschnik and Iman Sidky of the Suzanne Mubarak International Women’s International Peace Movement!

Directed by Mark Wheeler, the play profiles the issue of human trafficking using the remarkable founding story of STOP THE TRAFFIK to jolt audiences to get active.

The play was an explosive portrayal of traffickers as preditors to their victims, using an electric combination breakdancing and incredible animalistic vocals to really get the message across.

We were massively proud of all the cast and crew involved in this fabulous production and as Ruth Dearnley said when she spoke afterwards, these performers are winners not just of a competition; they are winners for taking this message forward on a creative platform and using it to inspire young people like themselves to raise awareness and tell others about it. And just as the traffickers don’t give up, neither should we!

We wish the OASIS YOUTH THEATRE a big CONGRATULATIONS for representing England & BEST OF LUCK for contending in the UK Finals of the Theatre Festival! We hope you win! But for everyone else remember, there is no competition when it comes to STOPPING THE TRAFFIK. We all have the potential to do something about it.

Just as getting 1 MILLION signatures for a declaration to the UN was once deemed an impossible task that we overcame, so can you overcome any obstacles that might be stopping you STOP THE TRAFFIK. THINK BIG but don’t forget to also ACT!

Check out our ACT campaign here www.stopthetraffik.org/act

If you were there and would like to see more pictures and make audience comments, OYT would love to hear from you to help the play progress further. See this page:

http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/One-Million-to-STOP-THE-TRAFFIK-by-Mark-Wheeller/285689902664?ref=ts

And see more about the fantastic production on these YOUTUBE promo spots:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aj8NXPVYzbU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nIo362_U32Y

STOP THE TRAFFIK with Liz Fisher: 400 miles- 40 days!

Hi Everybody!

I’d like to give a shout out to the lovely Liz Fisher who is cycling/walking to raise money for STOP THE TRAFFIK!

Liz’s goals? £400 by doing 400 miles in 40 days! She began on May 31st and hopes to finish in July in time for her birthday! Here is Liz’s Justgiving page where you can read more and support her and STOP THE TRAFFIK!

www.justgiving.com/LizFisher400

Many thanks Liz!

Take a STAND with the International Orchestra for Freedom

Time to FREE your ears and others with the sound of Tchaikovsky and Beetoven this summer!

The International Orchestra for Freedom is a force for International social change. The voice of a generation of talent are using their magic to mobalize people to STOP THE TRAFFIK!

Join them for their debut performance at 7:30pm on the 25th June, 2010 at St. John’s, Smith Square and see rising classical music stars- pianist Alexandra Darieseu and conductor William Kunhardt.

Take a look at their website: www.playliberate.com

Oasis Youth Theatre Crowned at All England Festival

Based at Oasis Academy Lord’s Hill in Southampton, Oasis Youth Theatre scooped the top prize at the weekend’s All-England Theatre Festival, beating more than 100 productions from around the country. They will go on to represent the nation at the British final in Scotland later this month with their performance of One Million to STOP THE TRAFFIK – a harrowing portrayal of the global trade in human life.

http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/8204669.We___re_the_best_in_the

The production was devised and produced by the Oasis Youth Theatre after arts director Mark Wheeller heard about Human Trafficking and decided to use his skills to do something to stop it! The play includes a story about an English girl who is trafficked after falling into drugs and the sex trade. It also has original music and multi media images, as well as an award winning portrayal of body-popping vultures who hang over the trade as predators.  

The group now has less than three weeks to prepare for the national finals to be held in East Kilbride on June 24th and 25th. They will perform a special fundraising show at the academy on June 16th, but are also looking for individuals or organisations to sponsor their bid for national glory.

The Oasis centre in London is lucky to be showing the production on Monday the 21st June!

STOP THE TRAFFIK do have a few spaces left so let us know if you are interested by emailing info@stopthetraffik.org.

Please note some scenes are not suitable for children under 13.

See the amazing reviews on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=285689902664&topic=21998.

The composer has also made available on Amazon and coming soon to itunes, the first ever STOP THE TRAFFIK soundtrack! This is non-profit; check it out here: 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-music&field-keywords=one+million+to+stop+the+traffik&x=0&y=0

UNIVERSITY STUDENTS in NORWICH causing a scene

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 stopthetraffikuea@hotmail.co.uk or join the ‘STOP THE TRAFFIK UEA’ Facebook group. To donate or support the cause visit www.stopthetraffik.org.

By Martin Futter

Celebrating Traffik-Free Chocolate in Spanish

La asociación Esclavitud XXI, con el fin de desarrollar la campaña de Stop the Traffik por un chocolate más justo, ha colgado en su página web (www.esclavitudxxi.org) una serie de recursos en castellano como pueden ser un libro de recetas buenísimas para preparar con chocolate de comercio justo, datos reales sobre la industria del chocolate, tiendas de comercio justo, pósteres, dinámicas, ideas, etc. Visítala y anímate a hacer algo entre tu grupo de amigos. Es una forma dulce de concienciar contra la trata y el tráfico de personas.

L’associació Esclavitud XXI, amb l’objectiu de desenvolupar la campanya de Stop the Traffik per una xocolata més justa, ha penjat en la seva pàgina web (www.esclavitudxxi.org) una sèrie de recursos en castellà i català com poden ser un llibre de receptes boníssimes per preparar amb xocolata de comerç just, dades reals sobre la indústria de la xocolata, botigues de comerç just, pòsters, dinàmiques, idees, etc. Visita-la i anima’t a fer alguna cosa en el teu grup de amics. És una forma ben dolça de conscienciar contra la trata i el tràfic de persones.

The Spanish association Esclavitud XXI (Slavery XXI), is trying to develop the Stop the Traffik chocolate campaign and has included in its website (www.esclavitudxxi.org) some resources in Spanish and Catalan such us a book of fair trade  chocolate recipes, real facts about the chocolate industry, fair trade shops, posters, activities, ideas, etc. Visit it and try to apply some of the ideas with your friends. It is a very sweet way to make people aware about human traffic.

Download the resources from http://www.esclavitudxxi.org/Chocolate/Chocolate.html. (I really hope someone is inspired to make me prawns with chocolate- it looks brilliant)

Chocolate Film by STOP THE TRAFFIK Belgium

What better place to talk about chocolate than Belgium? STOP THE TRAFFIK visited schools around the country with the chocolate story and a camera. This film shows how young people responded to our questions: what can I do and what should the government do to stop the traffik?

Is er een betere plaats dan België als het gaat over chocolade? STOP THE TRAFFIK bezocht scholen met het chocoladeverhaal en een camera. Het resultaat ziet u hier. Jongeren beantwoorden de vraag: wat kan ik doen en wat moet onze regering doen om mensenhandel te stoppen?

Est-ce qu’il y une place meilleur que la Belgique quand on parle chocolat? STOP THE TRAFFIK a visité des écoles avec l’histoire de chocolat et un camera. Voilà le résultat. Les jeunes repondent la question: que je peux faire et que le gouvernement peut faire pour arrêter le traite des êtres humains.

Wonderful People

At STOP THE TRAFFIK we’d just like to say a Super Huge Enormous THANK YOU to all the wonderful people who are raising money and helping our campaigns grow.

To me, running, jumping, walking, skipping for more than 5 minutes seems impossible; so to all you fantastic and brave people doing these things for STOP THE TRAFFIK we just want you to know your support is truly invaluable.

Best of luck to Victoria who’s running the London Marathon, Julie who’s doing the Thunder 10k run, Jennifer who will run the Coventry half Marathon and Kate who’s taking part in the Barrow Sprint Triathlon.

Finally, a massive well done and thank you to Ben and Dai who did the Highlander Mountain Marathon.

If you’re raising money for STOP THE TRAFFIK we’d love to know about it and thank you in at least 3 language so emails us at info@stopthetraffik.org.

Sam’s START FREEDOM Adventure

Hey all,

Well I’m sad to say that today is my last day at STOP THE TRAFFIK, so this will be my last blog post. The experience here in the office; and being actively involved with the Start Freedom campaign has been amazing!

I’ve enjoyed so much about the campaign. Helping the schools in Bromley, speaking to groups such as Amnesty and seeing the campaign grow throughout the world are just a few of my favourite things I have experienced.

However this is not the end! There is so much that all of us can be doing even if we are not sitting in an office surrounded by a team of people with all the facts and figures. We can campaign, hold events, raise money and spread the word!

These are things that I’m going to carry on doing. I hope you are going to do the same as they really do MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

Thanks to all and I hope to be back one day 🙂

Sam

Freeom Week: What’s happening in Kyrgyzstan

If you’ve been following the Freedom Week news, you’ll know we’ve had amazing events happening across 4 continents to celebrate Start Freedom.

OASIS Kyrgyzstan let us know the exciting things they’ve been doing to raise awareness where they are.

For the occasion of START FREEDOM week, Oasis Kyrgyzstan produced some brand new, great-looking, informative brochures warning about the dangers of human trafficking in Russian and Kyrgyz. We have been giving these out to the public in parks and on central city roads, attracting plenty of onlookers as one of our volunteers was sitting in a cage with a sign on it that said “NOT for sale” in Russian.

Even the media got interested and the Oasis Kyrgyzstan team made the national 7 p.m. news! Additionally, we have been working hard with several public schools, orphanages and street children’s centers to prepare for our big SF event on Saturday, March 13. Some 60 students between the ages of 11 and 17 will be presenting dances, songs, sketches, raps and poems at a public park in the city.

We also announced a drawing contest, so we have lots of really great posters that the students drew on the topic of human trafficking

Let us know what you’ve been doing, send us your stories, your videos and your photos.

Freedom Week: What’s Happening Around the World

Premiering tomorrow is the fantastic One Million to STOP THE TRAFFIK play by the Oasis Youth Theatre in Lord’s Hill. You can read more about the play, and an interview with one of the actresses here.

This play is exactly what STOP THE TRAFFIK is all about, young people being creative and raising awareness about human trafficking. The effect the play is having on the local community is absolutely brilliant.

The play is impacting the lives of those involved in the youth theatre; it is affecting the young people at the Lord’s Hill Academy and the play is even being published as a drama textbook for UK schools.

Just in case this wasn’t enough, the young people in Lord’s Hill are using the play to bring trafficking to the forefront of their local community’s agenda. Members of the Southampton City Council and then Chief Superintendent of the Southampton police are attending.

The members of the youth theatre are hoping their play will provide a step in the right direction for profiling human trafficking in their community and raising awareness on a larger scale.

If you want to learn more about human trafficking, how it affects you, and what you can do to fight it in your community go to www.startfreedom.org.

We’d love to know you’ve been doing for Freedom Week. You can find out how to upload films here and how to upload photos here.

Grassroots Greatness

So, because we at STOP THE TRAFFIK love activism and campaigning against trafficking more than almost anything (except perhaps traffik-free Galaxy chocolate), we just had to share news of some fantastic work being done by one of our supporters in Ipswich. Ben has been busy raising awareness about trafficking and getting it on the local political agenda. He’s been handing out our flexi-cards showing the signs of trafficking to local businesses, and now plans to distribute them to taxi drivers as well, since they are likely to come into contact with potential trafficking victims entering town from the train station. He’s also been liaising with the local police team, a county councilor, and the council itself on raising awareness in the area, and has managed to get onto the county council forum for refugees and asylum seekers. Part of their action plan involves tackling people trafficking, and Ben tells us that the council is generally open to the need to deal with the issue.

This is exactly the sort of grassroots activity that can make a real difference in an area. Politicians and officials are often willing to take trafficking seriously, but it takes the efforts of citizens to bring it to their attention and show that it is something we will not tolerate. If any of you are doing something similar in your area, we’d love to hear about it. And if you aren’t – what are you waiting for?! Visit stopthetraffik.org for ideas of how to get involved in the fight against human trafficking.

Eat those Galaxies

Brilliant news everyone!!

We’re super excited in the office today as we have just seen our first Rainforest Alliance certified Galaxy bar.

A fantastic first step- Mars have kept their promise and brought us Rainforest Alliance Galaxy in 2010 in the UK.

Now we just have to make sure they keep their commitment to make their whole range free of exploited labour by 2020 globally.

More and more companies are feeling the pressure to guarantee where their cocoa is coming form. Find out how you can get involved and fight for traffik-free chocolate here

I’m off to hunt down some traffik-free Galaxy to enjoy. Yum!

Global Chocolate Campaign

I’m always surprised to see how many amazing anti-trafficking blogs there are. I try and read as many as I can and connect with activists from all over the world. There are so many interesting things to learn and really exciting campaigns happening to end modern-day slavery in its many forms.

At STOP THE TRAFFIK we love global campaigns being made up of local action and we believe that the key to seeing a world-wide change is through fighting trafficking in your own community.

Nestlè have made 4 finger Kit Kats fair trade in the UK only, and lots of our international supporters are saying what about us? When will Nestlé make a global traffik-free commitment? A few weeks back a Spanish letter writing campaign was posted on the blog. Now, the brilliant www.SeeJaneAdvocate.com blog is building momentum for a campaign in the US.

There are 5 simple ways you can get involved and make sure Nestlé knows you won’t buy their chocolate until they can give you a traffik-free guarantee. You don’t have to take to the streets but can do it all from the comfort of your own home, and even while having fun with your friends. Campaigning shouldn’t overwhelm us, and through taking any small steps we can to fight human trafficking we can make a huge difference.

Visti SeeJaneAdvocate and find out how you can help to get traffik-free chocolate in the US.

Classical Music + Anti-trafficking = An Unbeatable Evening Out

Morning all, just a quick note to brighten up your Thursday with news of a fantastic event being held by one of our supporters in Scotland. Rev. John Carswell has organized a concert to raise awareness and funds for STOP THE TRAFFIK. It’s taking place on Saturday 20th February at 7pm at the Cadzow Parish Church in Hamilton, and looks set to be a great evening, with a programme of music by Debussy, Mozart, Handel, Labi Siffre, and Carole Bayer Sager. There will be a performance by SoundRoutes Community Choir and a talk from Christina McKelvie MSP as well. A £5 donation is suggested for tickets, available on the door.

Our campaigners are the lifeblood of our movement, so it’s always extremely encouraging for us to hear about what they are getting up to, and of course we wish the Reverend all the best for the concert. If anyone finds themselves in the Hamilton area next Saturday, we urge them to go along! And if anyone else is planning an exciting event for STOP THE TRAFFIK, do let us know.

Sam’s START FREEDOM adventure part 4!

Whoop! It’s almost February which means the Bishop Justus Start Freedom event is almost upon us. Unfortunately we have had to delay but all is well as it gives us more time to prepare and make the event better!

The national Start Freedom campaign however is all going very well. We have schools adapting their curriculum to fit the Start Freedom learning scheme into their lessons which is great as it gets others talking about and debating issues such as poverty; women; chocolate; trafficking and much, much more. We have also had confirmation that some schools are going to keep running this campaign in the future and not just have it as a one year event.

Apart from that there’s a lot of e-maling and liaising but everything is running smoothly 🙂

If you’re interested in more why don’t you leave a comment on this blog or any of my future one’s with what you are going to do……. Will You Join The Campaign And Help ‘START FREDOM’!

Sam

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)

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.

Oh the life of an intern

Hello and good afternoon to all of our avid blog readers! I’m a new intern at STOP THE TRAFFIK and here is a conversation I just had with our regular blog poster:

Regular blog writer (in slightly demanding voice); “write a blog post”

Me; “on what?”

Regular blog writer; “whatever”

So here you go! I think I’ll use this podium opportunity to tell you about my experiences thus far in my new role here. Having done a couple of other previous internships, I can happily say that STT is the best I’ve been involved with. Firstly, the guys are an interesting (and interested) bunch of dedicated activists and it’s hard for their passion and commitment not to rub off. So that’s great. Secondly, and this is without doubt the best bit of working here, they actually seem to trust me, appreciate me and genuinely listen to my input and point of view. This may seem insignificant but trust me, being listened to and taken notice of is a scarce condition in internships, so cheers guys!

I’ve been sent on workshops, attended meetings, met activists and collaborators, written letters, sent merchandise out, done research…..everything really! Thirdly, and on a more somber note, I’ve learned a whole load more about the abhorrent modern day trade in human beings and I’ve had my desire to help STOP THE TRAFFIK solidly stirred up. So I’m going to use my last words here to thank you for visiting this website and reading this blog…..and urge you to think about something you can do today, tomorrow or next week to help end the misery experienced by so many people in the UK and world wide. Just a little something, anything, that might help in the fight against trafficking.

Cheers guys! Have a happy afternoon.

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.