STOP THE TRAFFIK at the Financial Times

Financial Times’ global reach can transform the fight against trafficking

The greatest gift to a trafficker is the ability to operate in the shadows and work unseen, to maintain a state of denial enabling the growth of profits through this global crime to continue. To bring trafficking out of the shadows and achieve its effective disruption, STOP THE TRAFFIK has always been dependent on the life giving oxygen of large scale awareness.

That is why the news that the Financial Times has chosen us to be their Seasonal Appeal charity is a massive boost for STOP THE TRAFFIK. They are a powerful new partner with the clout to make a real difference in the battle against forced labour and trafficking around the world.

With the potential to shine the spotlight on the global economic debate around 21st century slavery, the FT and STOP THE TRAFFIK can together lead the empowerment of people, the utilisation of technology, and the gathering and sharing of knowledge necessary to bring disruption to this global crime.

Earlier this year we joined other charities in bidding for this coveted partnership and progressed through the stages, culminating in a final last month. STOP THE TRAFFIK volunteers of all ages visited the FT’s offices in London, standing gagged and dressed in black, holding written personal trafficking testimonies. The team also engaged in conversations and discussions with the FT team and presented via Skype to their offices around the world.

The team at STOP THE TRAFFIK has worked exceptionally hard to secure this partnership since April – but the reality is that this fantastic outcome is down to the continuing hard work that countless people across the world have put into the fight against human trafficking. We’re also aware that a number of charities were under consideration by the FT. Their work is both invaluable and inspirational. We are humbled to have been chosen and are determined to maximise this opportunity, empowering communities around the globe, to ultimately STOP THE TRAFFIK.

Ruth Dearnley

Read the full press release here

A tea picker working in the gardens in Assam

Keep shining that light- a visit to the Tea Gardens of Assam.

The first time I visited the tea gardens of Assam I was confronted with stories which remain etched on my mind and heart. We were in the garden to a run kids clubs to raise awareness about human trafficking. A community meeting had been called for anyone who wished to attend and after we had introduced ourselves and explained what we were doing, the Community Leader asked if anyone had questions.

One by one people stood and their story was translated. They were all more or less the same. They told of their child or brother or sister being taken by an ‘agent’. When we asked what an agent was, they said they were employment or migration agents. They knew who they were, they were their neighbours and sometimes their relatives. They told of being offered money for their children to get an education and work out of the gardens. One even said that when they refused, their two daughters were kidnapped the next night.

Sometimes they had received news for a few months and money sent home. A part of the deception to make people believe they were ok. But eventually they had no further contact. Many had small photos to show us, tattered and faded, some sobbed.

NGOs working in the region believe that these missing children may have been deceived, lured away by false promises of a good job and a better future, and ultimately trafficked into exploitation.

We left the church building and wandered in smaller groups with the people as they showed us the extreme poverty they lived and worked in. Tiny houses where some had lived for generations which they adorned with pride but such adornment could not hide the cracks. We stepped over puddles made by broken pipes mixing drinking water with sewage. They told us of grinding picking quotas, in the stifling heat and humidity that I could hardly move through. No wonder these people were so easily tricked into the web of deception human traffickers weave. We saw workers without protection, spraying pesticides they were obtaining from drums that were leaking, and children working in the processing factory part of the garden. When I asked two of the young girls their age one said 13 and the other said 8. They were not the only ones.

Visiting Assam this time was a case of “where you stand determines what you see.” The view from the tea garden owners is that they are making a difference – clean water supplies, houses being repaired, drainage installed and programs to build resilient communities beginning. They asked us to acknowledge they are a good company and their positive actions. They are indeed taking the first steps. From the local people’s point of view, this is a tiny beginning and only happened because a spotlight was shone on the situation by the rest of the world. They asked us to keep shining that light. We must.

I will never watch an ad for tea in the same way. Now I know what is happening behind the tranquil scenery of this and many other gardens. We must speak out. This has to stop.


Carolyn Kitto, STOP THE TRAFFIK Australia Coordinator reporting back from her time visiting the tea plantations in Assam, India where she also delivered the Walk Free and STOP THE TRAFFIK petition to Tata and APPL.

Find out more about STOP THE TRAFFIK’s Not my cup of tea campaign:

Find out more about Walk Free:

Walk Free ORG logos revised 27 03 13-09

On the road with Ruth Dearnley, STOP THE TRAFFIK CEO

Ruth, the CEO of STOP THE TRAFFIK, recently travelled to the USA to meet with our growing number of activists who are developing some amazing work. In this blog she shares a reflection she wrote, inspired by the 50 year commemoration of events at Selma Bridge, Alabama in 1965.

It’s an extraordinary country.

I’ve been in the USA for a few weeks now and it has been a great privilege to meet so many wonderful people who are a part of the STOP THE TRAFFIK global movement.

I have visited 5 different states, skyped live into a STOP THE TRAFFIK event in a coffee shop in Boston, met numerous STOP THE TRAFFIK activists, people across business, government, faith groups, media, community leaders and NGOs. I have spent this time listening to what is taking place across the USA, what STOP THE TRAFFIK is already doing and what could be.

Currently I am staying with friends in the unique city of Atlanta and for the first time in my life I got the opportunity to sit and watch the Oscars ‘live’.

For all the hype and rhetoric it was worth watching to witness the breath taking moment when the cast and song writers performed the Oscar winning song ‘Glory from the filmSelma’. Selma is a historical drama based on the marches that took place 50 years ago and led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This film felt poignant as these events that took place not far from where I am staying and 1965 was the year I was born! There is something unique and powerful to be nearby where events took place, to be among the people, walk the streets, and to feel the passion and power of people’s plea for justice.

It reminded me afresh that we stand on the shoulders of great people who walked across bridges of division and sacrificed their lives for what is right.

How many more bridges must we cross to cry out for the rights of those who are excluded, ignored and forgotten?

How many more roads must we march along together calling for true glory to be seen, when all people become free and no one is brought and sold?

Thank you for being part of STOP THE TRAFFIK and for all you are doing.

Each of our footsteps count in the march of a global movement. You count.

Be encouraged and inspired by those who truly showed us how to march well and change history.”

If you would like to support STOP THE TRAFFIK please donate here:

Be a STOP THE TRAFFIK chocolate hero in your school

This Easter you can join STOP THE TRAFFIK and help us campaign to end child trafficking in chocolate.

Download and use our three free lessons for ages 8-11 (key stage 2/3). Young people in your school will learn about what human trafficking is, feel equipped to take action to help prevent it, and excited to be empowered campaigners!

The lessons link human trafficking and chocolate focusing on our Easter campaign- we are asking supermarkets to stock more certified Easter eggs in 2016. Certified Easter eggs have the Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance or UTZ Certified mark which indicates that the chocolate was made in monitored conditions aimed to prevent human trafficking. Your pupils will be able to join hundreds of STOP THE TRAFFIK members from around the world in our specific Easter campaign actions by:
· Signing our petition: either themselves or asking friends and family to sign
· Delivering a postcard to their local supermarket: order your postcards here or download your own here >>

Your pupils will also find out about William Wilberforce and how he helped end the transatlantic slave trade; discover where chocolate originates from and the chocolate making process; they will think about out how it might feel to have a price tag; and they will get hands on creating their own posters and campaign letters.

This learning journey will take young people from being learners to activists- finding out how they can have a positive impact and prevent social justice issues such as human trafficking, through their own actions and by influencing the actions of others.
You will all end up being STOP THE TRAFFIK classroom hero’s!

At STOP THE TRAFFIK we believe that young people have a vital role in preventing human trafficking, not only in knowing what it is so they can protect themselves and their friends, but also as future voices who can challenge a world where human trafficking currently thrives.

Each lesson includes lesson plans, info sheets for teachers, PowerPoints and activity resources.

Find out more about the lessons here:
Download them here:

Don’t forget to send us photos of your class in action or the posters you make- we’d love to see them!


Happy Ever After

A blog from our partner Oasis Belgium, who work with victims of human trafficking, introducing their new resources Love Abroad, aimed to reduce the vulnerability of women coming to Europe for marriage.

Are you looking for a Russian wife, or how about a Thai beauty, another option could be a hot Latino? If so go onto google and search for a ‘Mail Order Bride’.  Tens of thousands of websites will appear informing you that they can guarantee you love and happiness. To the men who may think of using this service we want to warn you that this offer does not come cheap. And to the women it may not be the happy ever after you seek.

Oasis Belgium works with Thai women who came to Belgium to marry Belgian men, and although they have a marriage certificate, they have also become victims of human trafficking.

Pami* used to work in a factory in Thailand; she had been through a divorce and was really struggling to make ends meet. Her friend then suggested that she tried to find a European man by looking online. So Pami went online, and signed up to a marriage agency, lots of girls in Thailand were looking for American and European men online, so why not? It wasn’t long before she met a charming Belgian guy. After chatting for a while they got married and she moved to Belgium. Everything was great at first, but it wasn’t long before she realised, it was not the happy ever after she had thought it would be. Her husband wanted to set up an erotic Thai massage parlour, for want of a better word a brothel.  He forced her to work there and to recruit other women to work there too. It wasn’t hard to find other Thai ladies to join. They soon discovered that there were lots of Thai girls in Belgian, who had moved there for marriage, but had ended up being victims of domestic violence and had run away. Pami had been deceived as she was made to believe she was going to Belgium for marriage but once arriving in Belgium she was introduced to sexual exploitation.

Many couples that meet online, through dating agencies or marriage agencies, find great and happy relationships. However for others like Pami end up in situations of exploitation. We have therefore created a resource called Love Abroad. This aims to reduce the vulnerability of women who come to Europe for marriage and to reduce the risk for them being trafficked? We aim to do this by giving them warnings, help-lines, information about culture shock and international relationships as well as tips for settling into a new country. We are working with embassies so that they will provide this information to women when they are issued with a marriage visa.

Check it out at:

Ways that you can be involved:

Sharing the website on social media

Research for more information about: help-lines, language lessons, support groups

Contact us at: for more info!

*name changed

Take Action This Easter

16th Feb- Blue Egg

At this time of year supermarkets across the country and around the world are gearing up to sell millions of chocolate Easter eggs.

Yesterday I noticed the shelves of my local supermarket already being filled with an exciting selection of Easter eggs in bright colourful packaging. I decided to have a browse through and found a range of different sizes and tantalising flavours, but sadly I couldn’t find many certified Easter Eggs!

A certified Easter egg is one stamped with the Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance or UTZ Certified mark. These marks show customers like you and me that the chocolate in our Easter eggs has been made in monitored conditions that aim to prevent the trafficking of children.

But, why do we need these certifications? The shocking truth is that boys as young as ten are trafficked to perform the backbreaking and hazardous job of harvesting cocoa beans in the Cote D’Ivoire, West Africa. The cocoa beans they have to harvest end up in the chocolate we buy and love from our local shops, the chocolate in our Easter eggs.

Human Trafficking is the world’s fastest growing global crime. Despite improvements in the chocolate industry, human trafficking remains an ongoing and deep seeded problem. Together we have to put pressure on the chocolate industry to stop children and adults being trafficked and exploited to produce the chocolate we eat.

This Easter we’re taking action to try and prevent this- we’re calling on leading supermarkets in the UK, USA and Australia to double the number of certified Easter eggs they stock.

They will be ordering eggs for next year very soon, so it is vital that they hear from us today!

Take action now by:

  • Sign our petition:

Help us reach 10,000 signatures and add your name to our petition asking supermarkets to take action to help end child trafficking in chocolate by stocking double the number of certified Easter eggs next year.

Sign our petition now >

  • Ordering our Easter postcards

Visit the STOP THE TRAFFIK page to order your postcards and hand them in to the supermarket manager on your next weekly shop.

Order your postcards now >

Thank you for taking action, for more information and creative ways of get involved this Easter visit >

Together we can make Easter #Traffikfree

2014 STOP THE TRAFFIK Highlights

30 Dec

As the year draws to a close, I often find myself reminiscing about the events of the past year. And what a year it has been at STOP THE TRAFFIK!

You are part of a rapidly growing global movement of people who are passionate about ending the buying and selling of people. This powerful movement has gone from strength to strength throughout 2014 and our cry for justice has been heard loud and clear in so many ways.

Our network has expanded- we now have leadership in Australia, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, India, Brazil, USA, Belgium and Canada, as well as thousands of activists in over 70 countries who are creatively taking action in their own lives and through their communities to STOP human trafficking. Check out some of the 2014 highlights,

2014 STOP THE TRAFFIK Highlights 

  • The launch of two new global campaigns! Fashion and Tea lovers around the world are now taking action to STOP THE TRAFFIK
  • Tens of thousands of people have discovered how they can prevent trafficking at the GIFT box which hit the streets across Brazil, United Kingdom, USA and Slovakia
  • STOP THE TRAFFIK has led the debate around the inclusion of “supply chains” in the proposed UK Modern Slavery Bill
  • Creative awareness-raising events have taken place all over the world – Freedom Relays, Art Auctions, Clothes Swaps, Flash mobs, Film nights, Marathons to name just a few!
  • Hundreds of teachers, faith leaders, police officers and social workers have been trained to spot the signs of trafficking in their community
  • Over 1000 churches took part in Freedom Sunday – a day of pray and action against trafficking
  • Chain Checker went live! Businesses now have a simple tool to help them become traffik-free
  • Earlier this month Irene Rosenfeld (CEO, Mondelez) received a giant Christmas gift containing messages from thousands of activists calling for Traffik Free Chocolate

As we look ahead to the possibilities of 2015, STOP THE TRAFFIK will continue to pioneer ground-breaking ways for ordinary people like you and me to take action. Watch out for new ideas and exciting new tools for everyone to use. We must make it easy to gather information, share what we know and work locally across the globe to prevent this grievous crime. We want to see our movement extend its reach and make it possible for every person in every country to shout STOP.

Give a gift to STOP THE TRAFFIK – Help us shine a light in dark places. There are people all over the world who are vulnerable to the trafficker’s trade. Help us to create communities where the vulnerable are safe and the traffickers find it impossible to operate. >> Donate now 

We look forward to taking action with you in the New Year.

Happy New Year from all at STOP THE TRAFFIK

Antislavery Day: The Work Continues

On Saturday 18 October along with NGOs from across the Europe, STOP THE TRAFFIK activists took action to shout out against modern slavery which, according to the most recent ILO figures, affects 21 million people worldwide. Hundreds took part in the Big Auction, choosing to be bought and sold in the name of those that don’t have a choice. We’re incredibly grateful to those that joined in – on top of the vital and bold awareness raising they did, their efforts also contributed financially to the work of STOP THE TRAFFIK.

Our #TraffikFree chocolate, fashion and tea ( campaigns have also received thousands of signatures, demonstrating to our leading brands that taking the threat of trafficking out of the supply chains needs to be a priority. Our message is clear, we love the products but can never truly enjoy them until we know the taint of forced labour, entrapment and exploitation is removed. Through Freedom Sunday, UK churches and faith groups joined with others across the world to cry out against human trafficking and learn what they can do in their communities to create change. We all have our part to play and Antislavery Day is about acknowledging that and growing the movement that seeks an end to trafficking in all of its heinous forms.


If Antislavery Day is a catalyst for change, then where are we heading? Our campaigns continue to build momentum, particularly our #Traffikfree Chocolate campaign focusing on the largest chocolate company in the world, Mondelez Intl. and asking them to face up to their accountabilities in addressing child trafficking in the Ivory Coast. On Tuesday 21st October, 300,000 people globally were reached simultaneously through a Thunderclap campaign signing up even more to the cause. The next stage is a huge postcard drop off (in the tens of thousands) at Mondelez’s headquarters in Chicago – there’s still time to order postcards for your friends, families and communities to sign but to contribute to the big drop, we’ll need them back Monday 17 November. If you haven’t already, get them ordered now!

If you’re keen to get involved in our Make Fashion #Traffikfree campaign then the great news is that there are even more ways for you to get the word out. One quick way is to take to Facebook and Twitter and get asking your brands directly what they do to address trafficking in their supply chains. Here’s an example of one activist that is already challenging their favourite brands to get vocal!

TweetThis is a brilliant opportunity to positively challenge your favourite brands about issues that affect every one of us. Here are the things we want you to ask about:

1. What are your brands doing to keep their clothes #traffikfree?

2. Will they sign up to the Make Fashion #Traffikfree protocol? >>

Our suggestion to get you started is: ‘Hey @[brand], love the clothes but are they #traffikfree? @stopthetraffik‘ – let us know how you’re getting on.

Our #Traffikfree Tea campaign is beginning to pick up speed. We are asking Tata Global Beverages to do more to address the working and living conditions on their associated tea plantations that are fuelling unique forms of trafficking from the plantations into nearby cities. If you’ve not already signed the petition, head over to to sign up and make sure you keep an eye on our social media accounts and newsletters for more creative ways to engage!

Get Equipped:

Order chocolate postcards:

UK >>
US >>
AUS >>email:

Five words? What’s the fuss?

Those of you that have been keeping up with our Modern Slavery Bill campaign will know that we’re adamant that the bill is short by just five words. The five words in question are “(including in its supply chains)” and in this blog, we’re going to explain why this amendment is so incredibly important.

What do we mean by “supply chains”?

Global companies are formed from complex webs of production spread all across the world. Cotton that is picked in China might be transported to India to be dyed and then sewn together in Bangladesh. It’s done this way because it’s the quickest and cheapest way for multinational corporations to get their goods produced and on the shelves in time for the next season. The problem is that with so many links in the chain, many companies have little to no real oversight of their suppliers in terms of their ethical and environmental impact on the communities that are producing.

This means that farms and producing communities in developing nations are hotbeds for exploitation and human trafficking. The demands of international business mean that without the legal frameworks and economic strength to back them up, any calls for higher wages and better working conditions are extremely difficult to act upon. It also means that trafficked labour is almost impossible to trace, as the impoverished communities in which the factories and farms are based are powerless to speak out. Trapped in a catch-22 between excruciating labour for little pay or the starvation of an entire family, these communities find themselves exceptionally susceptible to the deception, coercion and forceful behaviours of traffickers who seek to exploit their vulnerabilities further.

Until the demand for cheap, no-questions-asked labour is curbed, change will be an uphill struggle. This is why it is so critical to use this opportunity to ensure that corporations operating in the UK take responsibility for all the workers they directly or indirectly employ. We need companies to take the lead because they are the ones that can really begin to challenge the status quo.

Why the resistance then?

10486097_10152231057377197_1904413335633016903_nWell, firstly there is the issue of subcontracting. Often businesses do not have contracts with their suppliers directly but with companies based in the countries themselves that source materials and labour on their behalf. Many companies do have their own ethical sourcing policies which will be part of the contracts they offer, but often this is not extended to subcontractors. There appears to be a reluctance within the business community to acknowledge that standards of subcontracted labour are the responsibility of the buyer. We believe that there’s no excuse for ethical businesses to shirk this responsibility. STOP THE TRAFFIK’s Make Fashion Traffik-Free Protocol is something we ask clothing companies to sign up and commit to which sets out our terms for fair labour. If companies are serious about ending trafficking in their supply chains then they need to get serious about addressing breaches of fair labour at all points in the chain.

Secondly, there’s the production cost. Many politicians debating the bill are concerned about the implications of these demands on consumers and how this might impact on poorer customers in developed nations. This is a misconception, though. The reality is that that paying labourers a fair wage for the garments they make as well as enforcing improved working conditions and workplace securities would involve an increase of just a couple of pence per garment. Factory owners in Bangladesh have told reporters that for just US$0.90 per pair, jeans can be produced in safe and humane working conditions but buyers for multinational corporations insist on US$0.75.[1] Behaviours like these are the fuel for disasters like the one that happened Rana Plaza, leaving workers in dangerous environments with neither food nor voice and create the desperate circumstances in which traffickers thrive.

There’s another layer to it, though. Businesses have a legal obligation to make all necessary steps to act in the interest of, and earn profit for, their shareholders. This means that even if a director wants to address trafficking in their supply chains (and we know that there are many that do), they could still come under legal scrutiny for making a decision that improves the lives of workers if it means that shareholders lose out on revenue. To avoid being penalised for doing the right thing, conscientious directors and business leaders need this amendment so that the law is on their side.

Your Role

This small amendment to the Companies Act 2006 is all that would be required to ensure that companies have a legal obligation to address poor labour standards and human trafficking across their entire production line. This is our best chance for some time to address the gaps in our laws that allow companies to turn a blind eye to the exploitation of impoverished communities.

We want you to join us in making sure this opportunity isn’t wasted. We want you to write to your MP to make sure your voice is heard. Click here to download a template letter, or feel free to write your own.

If you’re based outside the UK, we also want you to contact to your representatives to ask what commitments they are making to ending trafficked labour in global supply chains.

STOP THE TRAFFIK will also continue to encourage businesses to take up their responsibilities in ending trafficking. The fight to end trafficking involves a concentrated effort between lawmakers, industry and individual communities. This amendment, however, would give a legal basis to our demands that companies operating and selling in the UK are held accountable to their responsibilities to prevent exploitation in the production of the commodities we buy and love.

STOP THE TRAFFIK’s affiliate, Finance Against Trafficking is an organisation dedica
ted to helping businesses address human trafficking in their supply chains. They offer resources such as the Chain Checker, a free online tool to discover risks and vulnerabilities to trafficking within the business, highlight areas of concern and provide practical guidance and steps businesses can take to mitigate this risk.





Change is happening in the chocolate industry

We are delighted that Nestlé have made a public announcement stating that they are on target to achieve 100% cocoa from sustainable sources by the end of 2015, becoming the first major confectionery company in UK and Ireland to achieve this milestone.

It has been confirmed that by the end of 2015 all Nestlé confectionery containing cocoa sold within the in UK and Ireland will be certified through either UTZ or Fairtrade.

This is a great step forward! Certification through credible, independent standards bodies such as Fairtrade, UTZ Certified, and Rainforest Alliance, is a key step in eradicating child trafficking in the chocolate industry.


Send Nestlé a message through social media to thank them for making this commitment to certify their entire chocolate range. Here are some suggestions:

Thank you @Nestle for certifying your entire chocolate range in the UK & Ireland by the end of 2015! #togetherwecan @stopthetraffik

Thank you @Nestle for your commitment to @stopthetraffik in your supply chains.

We can’t wait to buy #traffikfree @Nestle products! Thank you for certifying more of your range!

Download this image to put in your post:

Why not send a selfie? – Take a #selfie with you and a @Nestle kitkat an
d post your thank you message with the hashtags #traffikfree #selfie and tag @stopthetraffik


This week the Fair Labor Association (FLA) released their audit of the farms in Nestlé’s Cocoa Plan in Cote d’Ivoire. Assessors found four children under the age of 15 working in the cocoa fields, as well as one case of forced labour (child trafficked labour) involving a young worker from Burkina Faso, believed to be 15, who had been working without pay or documentation since he was 13. 

The Nestlé Cocoa Plan “seeks to improve the lives of cocoa farmers and their communities, addressing child labour while improving productivity and ensuringSustainable cocoa 1 website the flow of good quality, sustainable cocoa”. Nestlé have made commitments to eliminate the use of child labour across the cooperatives within the Nestlé Cocoa Plan. In response to this finding Nestlé said “As a company, we are doing all we can but we acknowledge that, as long as children work on cocoa farms, there will always be more to do” Sandra Martinez, Global Head of Chocolate and Confectioner.

STOP THE TRAFFIK commends Nestlé for their Cocoa Plan and their partnership with the FLA which has resulted in these children being found. Of course, we look forward to the day when no child trafficked labour is found in chocolate production, but discovering these children means they can be remediated and the problem can be addressed. 

Finding these children gives us a clear picture that child trafficking is still occurring in Cote d’Ivoire. It sends a message to chocolate producers that there is still more to be done to totally eradicate human trafficking.

If you are interested in reading the full report and the actions Nestlé is planning please go to  


We would like to see Nestlé’s commitments go even further. We ask Nestlé to publicly release their intentions to expand their Cocoa Plan (which currently covers 20% of their cocoa supply chain) and commit to 100% certification of every chocolate product sold around the world. We would like to see the Nestlé Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation System rolled out across the whole of the cocoa supply chain and the see evidence of the financial commitment that Nestlé are prepared to make to tackle the crime of human trafficking. 


Since 2006, together we have put pressure on the chocolate industry. Together we have raised our voice on behalf of those who have been trafficked and exploited. The recent announcements from Nestlé demonstrate that your voice has been heard. Because of your actions, the industry is changing, thank you!

At STOP THE TRAFFIK we believe prevention of human trafficking is essential. Behind every break-through like this there is a lot of research, negotiation, education, awareness raising and resource development for campaigning. That all costs money.  We thank you, our activists, for your part in campaigning and ask you to support us financially so together we can continue to STOP THE TRAFFIK.

To make a donation today visit:

Countdown to Freedom Sunday Starts Now

Human trafficking is a grave crime against humanity. It is a form of modern day slavery and a profound violation of the intrinsic dignity of human beings. It is intolerable that millions of fellow human beings should be violated in this way, subjected to inhuman exploitation and deprived of their dignity and rights. This outrage should concern each one of us, because what affects one part of humanity affects us all. Virtually every part of this world is touched in some way by the cruelty and violence associated with this criminal activity. If we are to combat this evil then we must work together to prevent the crime, support the survivors and prosecute the criminals.” – The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby

On Sunday 19th October 2014, communities and faith groups all over the world will join together to raise awareness of the crime of human trafficking and show the world our compassion for the men, women and children who are trafficked and exploited.

Freedom Sunday began out of a movement organised by Not For Sale in the USA, uniting a group of churches together for a day of focus, prayer and worship centred around human trafficking. The following year, Not For Sale partnered with STOP THE TRAFFIK in Australia to involve Australian groups and denominations. This year, we’re delighted that Freedom Sunday is involving even more groups and communities from across the world, joining together in prayer and action to demonstrate a united and tangible response to human trafficking. This abhorrent crime must not be tolerated. We will make commitments to take action to prevent trafficking in our local and global communities.

Human Trafficking is the world’s fastest growing global crime and is one of the largest sources of income for organised criminals. The profits are high and the risks are low. It’s a system based on greed, control and power. It’s a global market place where people are the product and everyone has a price tag. This crime is based on an international conveyor belt of transactions and exchange, with sophisticated trade routes and communications. This human product creates profit in the tens of billions every year and growing. Those trafficked are often invisible, always powerless, and are put to work.

That’s why it’s important that we have a day to concentrate our efforts and reflect on what we are able to do to prevent trafficking in our context.


STOP THE TRAFFIK activists come from a variety of faiths and cultures, brought together by the common goal of ending human trafficking. We celebrate this diversity for the wonderful display of global unity that it is, but we also want to support cultures and faith networks in finding an expression of activism that fits within their context. That’s why we’re calling on people from all systems of belief to work with us in developing resources that will be most helpful to them so that Freedom Sunday can act as a galvanising force in coordinating efforts against human trafficking everywhere.

It’s a day to focus, a day to lament and a day to cry out against global injustice. It’s also a day to empower and take stock. Trafficking occurs when people are taken from one community into another, so as voices within our own communities we have the power to effect change. Freedom Sunday is about equipping communities with the knowledge and the confidence that is necessary to stamp out trafficking in our areas.

The resources for churches are available to download from our website. They include suggested sermon notes, liturgies and a Freedom Prayer written specially by renowned poet Gerard Kelly. This year, we’re also excited to partner with, and develop resources for, other communities (faith-based or otherwise) that would like to join us in making the day a truly universal event. If you’re a representative of a group that is passionate about fighting trafficking and would like to work with us in developing resources to suit your gatherings then please get in touch by emailing

We’d also love to hear from anyone who is preparing their Freedom Sunday programme and to hear stories of how raising awareness of human trafficking has made an impact. If you have any stories or further questions then please get in touch by the above email address.

Together we can stop trafficking and start freedom.


GIFT Box update from Glasgow

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!

GIFT BOX - GLASGOW 1When 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.


GIFT box on the move

The UN GIFT box has been on the move! From Belfast, to Brazil, to Glasgow, the GIFT box has been making a mark, and spreading the word of STOP THE TRAFFIK.



The World Cup has come to an end. Well done to Germany for winning! Whilst the world has had football fever, STOP THE TRAFFIK has been moving around Brazil with the GIFT box. Our volunteers out in Brazil have done an amazing job, raising awareness of human trafficking within Brazil.

The GIFT box was set up in 3 different locations around Brazil in order to raise awareness to a variety of people. It began its journey by the Christ Redeemer, where it was opened by various members of the government and the Brazillian press.

It then moved to Rio de Janeiro’s red light districts where it was staffed by women who are working within the sex industry and want to help end trafficking for sexual exploitation. The box was then moved to the famous Ipanema beach, which is a firm favorite with tourists. The final location was in the neighborhood Penha, outside Rio’s most dramatically set church.

The number of people who came to the GIFT box was staggering, with over 13,000 people being engaged during the first couple of weeks. This number continued to grow, with the volunteers raising awareness to a variety of people.

Our partners- Brazillian NGO 27million moved around Brazil to 4 of the world cup hosting cities with other anti-trafficking activists, including the NGO Operation Blessing. During this road trip they encountered both tourists and locals alike and engaged with them. They handed out STOP THE TRAFFIK leaflets, designed to raise awareness as well as equipping people with the facts on human trafficking and how to keep themselves safe.

Without the help of all of the volunteers out in Brazil, and our partners from the Rio State Government and the NGO 27 Million we could not have raised awareness to so many people, so a massive thank you!

STOP THE TRAFFIKS time in Brazil is not over though, this is just the beginning!

To find out more about STOP THE TRAFFIKS time in Brazil, and to see more photos, head over to STOP THE TRAFFIK Brazil’s website>


gift  box ni

The GIFT box has been in Belfast, hosted by our partners No More Traffik last month. #GIFTboxNI moved around Belfast throughout June. From the City Hall, to The Titanic to Stormont (Parliament buildings). The GIFT box has raised awareness of trafficking within Northern Ireland, and has had visits from various members of parliament, including the department of justice. Even the Queen drove past! Well done to all volunteers involved and the NO More Traffik team! #GIFTboxNI will be moving around Northern Ireland over the next few months, so keep a look out and show your support!

Keep up to date, and check out pictures from #GIFTboxNI check out their facebook page> No More Trafficking


To round up a summer of sport, the Commonwealth games are upon us, and once again STOP THE TRAFFIK will be there! We are hosting a GIFT box in Glasgow along with More Than Gold. More Than Gold is a charity which is working in association with many churches across Scotland; they are uniting to raise awareness of human trafficking in both their local communities and around Scotland. STOP THE TRAFFIK is very happy to be working in partnership with this charity.

There will be four GIFT boxes around Glasgow, three of which will be at different locations throughout the games on Sauchiehall Street, and one shall be at Glasgow Cathedral.

We look forward to updating you on #STOPTHETRAFFIKTeam14’s progress and working with More Than Gold! Keep up to date with the GIFT box and check out our:

facebook page: STOP THE TRAFFIK.





The ugly side of fashion!

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The fashion industry is big business. Most of us are on the lookout for the perfect summer outfit. However, weaved throughout the fashion supply chain there is the exploitation of the most vulnerable. STOP THE TRAFFIK has been campaigning to raise awareness of this exploitation and give a voice to those who go unheard.

STOP THE TRAFFIK’s Make Fashion #TraffikFree campaign is concentrating on the beginning stages of the fashion supply chain, with a focus on the Tamil Nadu region in India. This region accounts for over 65% of India’s spinning units and 60% of India’s knitted products.  Many young women and girls end up working within the Tamil Nadu region as they are employed under the Sumangali Scheme.  This is an attractive scheme for those in rural communities, and struggle to cope with the oppression of poverty and the practice of dowry.

The Sumangali scheme exploits the poorest and most vulnerable. Many of the young girls within the scheme are recruited and given a small allowance, with the promise of a lump sum at the end of their scheme, or at the time of their marriage. However, according to research less than 35% ever receive their payment.

The Scheme is marketed to be very appealing. Often the recruiters will travel to rural communities and present families with colourful brochures with decorative words. They make promises of a steady wage and employment. But in reality, once these girls are part of the scheme they are subjected to the worst forms of abuse. Including chronic illness due to poor health and safety, one woman has described having over 4kg of cotton fibre removed from her stomach. The girls are often victims to harassment and physical abuse. This often leaves them physiologically traumatised.

Yet, the Sumangali scheme continues to thrive as it offers young women from the poorest communities the opportunity to earn a dowry and get married. The practice of dowry although illegal since 1961, still persists within India. Due to the difficulties for young women and their families to escape this system, the employers exploit this social requirement, and offer them money to pay for a dowry. This is ultimately exploiting the strong cultural desire for young women to have an investment for marriage.

There has been an increase in demand for younger workers, as many employers believe them to be more submissive, and therefore easier to control. These girls begin the scheme with the expectation that they will be working and living in safe conditions. Yet, in reality these girls are forced to work 12 hour days (the legal limit is 8). They have to stay in hostels within the factory premises, and are often guarded. This enables the factories to force them to work unrealistic hours for little or no pay. Many of the young women’s families believe that they are being well looked after, and are living in a safe environment; however this could not be further from the case.

These girls’ stories often go unheard.

We must listen.

YOU must listen.

Together we can put an end to schemes like this.

Together we can STOP THE TRAFFIK!

Show your support, and join our Make Fashion #TraffikFree campaign!

Check out our cotton campaign here

Follow us on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram

It’s not just football fever that you need to watch out for during the World Cup!


The World Cup is here! And all eyes are on Brazil. STOP THE TRAFFIK is excited to announce that we have launched #GIFTboxBrasil. Many of us are caught up in the excitement of the World Cup, and are cheering on our favourite teams. Brazil is a country with breath taking sceneries, but unfortunately the country like any other is not exempt of human trafficking and exploitation. While the government, businesses, civil society organisations at federal, state and municipality level in Brazil have been actively working on addressing the problem of trafficking in the country, instances of the problem still persist. STOP THE TRAFFIK and their Brazilian partners the Rio State Government and the NGO 27 Million take the excellent opportunity that the World Cup offers to raise awareness of and empower people to take action to stop human trafficking.

The GIFT box received a grand opening ceremony outside the famous statue of Christ the Redeemer last week. The opening ceremony was attended by Members of the Brazilian government and the Brazilian press.

The GIFT box is moving around in order to raise as much awareness as possible. After its location at Christ the Redeemer where many tourists from Brazil and abroad encountered it, it was located in one of Rio de Janeiro’s red light districts where it was staffed by women who are working within the sex industry and want to help end trafficking for sexual exploitation. This was an amazing location as it provided peer to peer sharing and support for the women.

The box is currently located just off of the famous Ipanema beach, which is a firm favourite with tourists. The final location is in the neighbourhood Penha, outside Rio’s most dramatically set church in a 17th-century confection which offers dramatic 360-degree views from its cliff top perch. The church is surrounded by favelas. Having the box at this site will give us a chance to raise awareness amongst local Brazilians on how to keep themselves and others safe.

STOP THE TRAFFIK is working in partnership with 27 Million and the Rio de Janeiro State Government to carry out this awareness raising campaign. Alongside the GIFT box our Brazil Coordinator Leticia (27 Million) is visiting 4 of the 12 World Cup cities.

  • Sao Paulo
  • Belo Horizonte
  • Recife
  • Rio de Janeiro

Leticia will tour with other anti-trafficking activists, including from the NGO Operation Blessing. In both tourist locations and vulnerable communities they will engage with people and provide them with STOP THE TRAFFIK leaflets which include the signs of human trafficking – both on how to keep yourself safe and how to spot trafficking in your community, and where to report it. The aim of the tour is to empower people to take action against human trafficking!

One of the actions you can take during the World Cup is to organise a World Cup quiz night! Download our World Cup quiz  here which is designed to combine a fun night with your family or friends with raising awareness of human trafficking. You can gather your friends and family to watch your favourite team play together and do it before the match starts. We would love to hear how your quiz night was, email to tell us how you’re on the ball during this World Cup!


To find out more about our activities in Brazil during the World Cup and beyond visit:

STOP THE TRAFFIK Brasil website:

Facebook page:




blog manchester college

The Northern Quarter neighborhood in Manchester, once the home to cotton mills and textile factories,on May 28th forced us to consider who makes our clothes.

It is a little known fact that men and women, boys and girls are trafficked to work in the cotton industry. It is also a fact that most people do not consider this when buying their clothes. Lured in by cheap prices do we stop and think about how the cotton is spun, dyed and woven in factories? Likewise are businesses aware of the unethical and at times criminal behavior of their suppliers?

In light of these questions STOP THE TRAFFIK have launched the Make Fashion Traffic Free campaign. However, a campaign is only as successful as the audience it reaches – that is why it is important to spread the word as well and far as possible.

The recent exhibition in Manchester consisted of a collection of the works of 1st year Graphic Design and Advertising students at Manchester College, who – as part of their course – were asked to develop a graphic and social media campaign to raise awareness and call people to action on behalf of STOP THE TRAFFIK. The exhibition was called “Unstitched” and displayed great artistic talent and a mature understanding of the complexities found in human trafficking.

Amongst such an array of talent choosing a winner was hard. In the end we felt the campaign by Noemi Salazar & Lucy Bryan-Smith best captured the essence of the STOP THE TRAFFIK ethos and the Make Fashion Traffic Free campaign. Their slogan was #iwanttoknow and included a series of posters together with an Instagram movement.

Julia Muraszkiewicz


STOP THE TRAFFIK Manchester is just one of STOP THE TRAFFIK’s regional groups around the UK who work tirelessly to raise awareness of human trafficking. To find out more, check out their Facebook page or find them on twitter: @ACTManchester

TRAVEL SAFE Week at Manchester Airport

manchester group logo

STOP THE TRAFFIK Manchester were privileged to be part of  TRAVEL SAFE week at Manchester Airport as part of the long standing relationship with the staff there who are real advocates of the collective anti-trafficking efforts across the city. There have been previous events at the airport to raise awareness which we have been involved with, but this year was a step up.

The week included ‘road shows’ where teams went into the airport terminals to meet and raise awareness amongst staff and invite them to training sessions on Human Trafficking, Abduction, Forced Marriage and human exploitation supported by the Border Force Safeguarding Team, The Chaplaincy Manchester Airport, GM Police, STOP THE TRAFFIK, SAHILI and International Justice Mission all played a part in the week.

The aims and objectives of the events were:

   •           To raise awareness of Human Trafficking, Child Welfare and Forced Marriage 

   •           To bring together companies, agencies, organisations and individuals to hear from one another about issues faced by vulnerable passengers in relation to Human Trafficking, Child Welfare and Forced Marriage

   •           To encourage every colleague working in and around Manchester Airport, whatever their uniform or job description, to recognise the part they have to play in protecting vulnerable passengers of all ages from Human Trafficking, Forced Marriage or other abusive behaviour.

The teams who organised and participated in the Travel safe week are proactive and recognise airlines and all the airport staff play a significant part in safe guarding vulnerable people.

One of the initiatives launched during travel safe week was to ask people to become TRAVEL SAFE CHAMPIONS and give them ownership within their company to help ensure staff had the appropriate knowledge and information to identify and report signs of trafficking. These TRAVEL SAFE CAMPIONS will help provide a network across all the different teams and companies that work within the airport to maintain a level of awareness related to potential victims of trafficking in the airport.

There were two training sessions held at the end of the week with all the teams involved presenting and delivering interactive workshops for people to engage with real cases studies from the airport. The training sessions exceeded the numbers expected to attended and from different areas, and lots of new contacts were made and they enabled the TRAVEL SAFE message to a lot of parts of the airport and wider community.  As a result of the week Community Relations team at the airport would like to work with us to get the TRAVEL SAFE message out to local schools, which will help to build on existing work and relationships we have in the local area.

There is ongoing work related to the TRAVEL SAFE effort and we are working together to keep up the momentum and encourage engaged staff to help provide information for passengers, we are also offering training to the airlines and other companies in an effort to try and reach all staff, working together to find out effective ways of maintaining the profile of the TRAVEL SAFE agenda.

To find out more about STOP THE TRAFFIK Manchester check out our Facebook page>!/act.manchester?fref=ts


chain checker

Human trafficking is not a straightforward challenge for a business, regardless of its size. Businesses are often unaware of the unethical and sometimes criminal behaviour of others in their supply chain and the legal, reputational and operational risks associated.

Even if business owners possess a basic understanding of human trafficking and think their organisation could be vulnerable due to the locations in which they operate, how can they find out? The perceived scale of understanding what areas of your business and supply chain could be unwittingly supporting the crime and implementing policies, procedures and processes to stop this poses a huge barrier.  As a consequence, businesses have tended to concentrate on their core business activities and have other Corporate Social Responsibility targets and priorities.

What has become clear in recent months is that the CSR landscape is changing and businesses have to take note of the increasing, collective voice emanating from consumers, activists, governments, intergovernmental and international organisations about the atrocities of human trafficking and the responsibility that lies with the business community.  One of the most pertinent of these voices being the UN and the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

The truth is that any organisation may find it extremely difficult to trace their multi-national and possibly fragmented supply chain.  This is why we must begin with a risk-based approach.  If companies can begin to identify areas of high risk and focus on these, to ask questions of their suppliers and their supplier’s suppliers, they can start to make that change.

Finance Against Trafficking aim to be the enabler for businesses to take on the challenge of human trafficking, helping them to understand the impact it could have on them, the areas of their business most vulnerable and to provide them with the tools and guidance necessary to minimise the risk.

To do this Finance Against Trafficking offer a number of different services to businesses, the most notable recent addition to which is ChainChecker.  An online, question-based tool, ChainChecker is designed to be used by anyone who works within a business and enables them to understand the areas of their business at risk.  It will highlight key areas of concern and provide practical guidance and actions you can take to minimise the risk that your organisation is unintentionally using forced, bonded or child labour and supporting human trafficking.

ChainChecker is intended to be the first step businesses can take to understand their risk, responsibility and the action they can take to prevent them being directly or indirectly involved with human trafficking.

To find out more about ChainChecker, how it works and to take advantage of the limited offer of £50 to sign up!

click here to go straight to the website.

What does STOP look like?

do-you-know-what-the-worlds-fastest-growing-globa-2-23459-1400069620-0The STOP THE TRAFFIK family  is a global one. We have communities all over the world helping to raise awareness of  human trafficking.

In the Netherlands STOP THE TRAFFIK have been working with the help of volunteers to spread the message, and raise awareness. Last year a group of volunteers used an innovative way to spread the word of human trafficking and how YOU can help.

Read Sifra (one of the volunteers) story here, of how the day went!

October 18th 2013 was the European Day against Human Trafficking. Our STOP THE TRAFFIK  group ‘Food Valley’ thought we could not let this day pass without paying attention to it. In Veenendaal, (a town in the East of the Netherlands) five ladies went to the city centre, dressed in black, their mouths covered with tape and with a sign around their neck saying ‘For Sale’ and wearing a sign with a barcode on it.

stop the traffik-13

During the day, we handed out 1500 flyers. This means that we raised awareness to 1500 people about the problem of human trafficking, and if they share the news, even more! Wow!

stop the traffik-33

Many people found it shocking to see us dressed this way. Most people, therefore, read the flyers and we got positive responses. Doing this action and seeing the reactions gave us new energy to keep standing up against human trafficking. It doesn’t need to be big; print out some flyers, put on a STOP THE TRAFFIK shirt and get out on the street!

Sifra Bol


Check out STOP THE TRAFFIK’s Netherlands website page to find out more about the Netherlands campaigns>

STOP THE TRAFFIK Netherlands is on facebook! check out their page for all local news!






It’s good to talk: An update on our meeting with Mondelēz International

we want traffik free chocolateThis spring thousands of STOP THE TRAFFIK activists around the world showed the world’s largest chocolate company just how passionately they feel about ending child trafficking in the cocoa supply chain.

The momentum was incredible!

Over 10, 000 messages were sent to Mondelēz International calling on them to demonstrate their commitment to tackling child trafficking within their cocoa supply chains by certifying their entire chocolate range. Our Thunderclap reached over 100,000 twitter accounts and Mondelez’s Facebook page was flooded with messages from STOP THE TRAFFIK activists.

We received hundreds of messages expressing why certification is so important to you. Here are just a couple:

“Being transparent to the world and being honest is something consumers love to see. Building on trust is so important, and it sets standards for other companies to follow”

“Certification acts as a way of measuring the difference made to the supply chain. Certification increases company transparency. Certification keeps companies accountable.”

Mondelēz heard you!

As a result of our collective consumer power, Mondelēz agreed to meet with STOP THE TRAFFIK to discuss the demands of our campaign. Thank you to everyone who submitted questions and comments ahead of the meeting.

So how did it go?

We engaged in a very constructive conversation and we would like to thank Francesco Tramontin- Director of External Affairs, Europe for flying to the UK to meet with us. We expressed the urgency of tackling child trafficking in the chocolate industry. Since 2001 we have seen chocolate companies make commitments to eradicating this horrendous crime from within their supply chains and yet in 2014, trafficking and exploitation continue to be hidden ingredients within our favourite chocolate products. This must stop.

What did we hear? 

We heard about the progress being made through Mondelez’s $400 million Cocoa Life Initiativeand their desire to see the eradication of child trafficking from their cocoa supply chain. The Cocoa Life Initiative seeks to develop a holistic approach to transforming cocoa communities – one that includes elimination of child labour, gender equality and education as measures for success – all of which are important outcomes for cocoa communities to thrive.

Plans don’t go far enough

These plans are definitely steps in the right direction and we are pleased to see this initial commitment however much of the detail on their programmes is still lacking. What percentage of their cocoa farmers will benefit from this Cocoa Life program? How much of their cocoa is currently certified? Who and how will their program be independently audited?

We called on Mondelēz to take ambitious steps to ensure that the plans they implement to address trafficking encompass their entire cocoa production.  As consumers we want Mondelēz to demonstrate their commitment to us through certifying their entire range of chocolate.

We were assured that detailed plans will be coming soon. A national situation assessment is currently underway within the Cote D’Ivoire and baseline reporting will be available later this year. Please see here for a formal response to some of our questions.

Key points:

There are still far too many unanswered questions and a lack of transparent details. We look forward to seeing further details soon.

A measure of any commitment is the speed of change. Change is inevitably connected the financial commitment made to tackling this issue. 

Our campaigning is essential to changing this industry. We must not give up until child trafficking ends.

Thank you for being part of this campaign. Our campaign continues.



Nigerian girls kidnapped: the devastating face of human trafficking

nigerian girlsOn Sunday 14 April in the middle of the night, more than 300 girls aged 12-15 were kidnapped at gun point, in the village of Warabe, in Borno state, Nigeria. As the eyes of the world’s media have followed this devastating story it has now become apparent that Abubakar Shekau has threatened to “sell” the girls.

This situation may at first present itself as unusual but when we take a second look at this horrific act of brutality,  we see another instance of human trafficking – force, fear, exploitation and greed: girls sold, money made and freedom lost.

As a world we cannot sit by and allow this to happen to these girls. Those who can,  must act. 

As a world we cannot sit by and allow this to happen to anyone.

Every day this crime takes place irrespective of race and place . A crime where people are the product and everyone has a price tag.  

This crime must stop.

STOP THE TRAFFIK believe that the only way to disrupt this growing global trade is for individuals and society to see this crime, talk about it, and take action to disrupt this global system! All stakeholders must be involved in tackling this crime. A strong voice and commitment is needed from all governments worldwide in order to stand together in the fight against human trafficking. We believe the key is for society, government and business to share knowledge, information and resources that can be used to empower vulnerable communities, making them safe, and to disrupt the traffickers’ trade.

How to get the stain out of your clothes!


With summer fast approaching, many of us are looking out for the perfect summer wardrobe, and head towards the nearest high street store to bag the latest bargains. From H&M to Primark, the allure of the cheap store is too much to resist, and many of us would admit that we buy too many clothes. Clothes are not only a fashion statement, but they can make us feel good, and express our style. Lots of us love a bit of retail therapy! So, there’s nothing bad about clothes, right?

Well there is a darker, unspoken side of fashion, which many of us are unaware of. Often little is known about the journey of cotton from field to fabric, and then into our favourite shops. In fact many of the suppliers and owners of high-street brands are in the dark as to how their products are produced. The reality is that many of the clothes which you buy are the product of a long line of exploitation and human trafficking.

It’s a little known fact that, 200,000 young women and girls being trafficked to work in the garment industry in the Tamil Nadu region of India. Many of these girls are aged 14-23, but instead of being able to enjoy the latest fashion trends like other girls their age, they  are forced to work up to 12 hours a day, 6 days a week in cotton spinning, weaving and dying mills. They have limited freedom, and have to sleep in a hostel within the factory walls or are guarded by the male factory employees with only limited contact with their families or the outside world. Sexual and physical abuse from the male guards is common.

The girls working in these factories produce cotton to be sold to fashion companies all over the world. It is likely that most of your favourite shops and brands have this cotton in their products. Even the clothes you are wearing now may have this cotton in them.

Many of these girls are targeted by traffickers because they are young, unmarried and come from largely poor and marginalized communities. Their parents are persuaded to sign their daughters up for employment with the promise that they will be paid and taken care of along with the offer of a lump sum payment at the end of their 3-5 years of employment. The shocking reality is that, less than 35% of the workers are paid at the end of their employment.

This has to stop. You have the power to help make this happen!

STOP THE TRAFFIK is working to put an end to the trafficking of these innocent girls. As part of the Make Fashion #TraffikFree campaign, we have launched a fantastic new Clothes Swap pack.  Hosting a Clothes Swap is an ideal action for you, if you love fashion, and have a passion for a traffik free world.

Here are 3 reasons why a Clothes Swap is a great idea!

1. A clothes swap provides a great opportunity to get your friends together and tell them about the Make Fashion Traffik-Free campaign

2. It’s fun way for people to come together and share a mutual love for fashion along with a passion for a Traffik-Free world!

3. It’s a simple and effective way to raise some money for STOP THE TRAFFIK!

So if you have had your eye on your best friends top, now’s the time to get it!

 If you want to join our cotton campaign, but don’t have the time to host a clothes swap, that’s fine just follow one of our other actions-click here to find out more!

It’s true many of us love fashion, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But what is wrong is the exploitation of vulnerable women, together let’s make fashion #TraffikFree!

Chocolate unwrapped: the truth behind your chocolate

Easter Egg image

With Easter fast approaching, the cravings for chocolate are kicking in! The rich, indulgent appeal of chocolate is just too tempting to pass up. When Easter rolls around, I usually cannot wait to pick up the nearest gooey Cadbury’s Crème Egg.

But did you know the darker side of chocolate?

  1. Estimates of child labour on cocoa farms in the Cote D’Ivoire and Ghana, vary from 300,000 to 1 million between 2007-2013. [1]We know that a portion of these children have been trafficked.
  2. Thousands of boys as young as 10yrs old, from the Cote D’Ivoire and neighbouring countries, are trafficked to pick and harvest these beans.
  3.  The freedom of children is taken and they are forced to work long hours on the cocoa plantations without receiving any money for their work.

We’ve been campaigning with your help since 2007 to unearth the darker side of chocolate – and to introduce companies to the hidden side of their supply chain. Global chocolate companies have the power to change the industry. We, as consumers, have the power to show chocolate companies that we care about who makes our chocolate.

We know that the chocolate companies have heard our demands. Over the past few years, there has been a wave of promises to change. Carolyn Kitto, from STOP THE TRAFFIK Australia, says, “The cocoa industry has been quick to promise and slow to deliver. We are not talking about small companies without the capacity to act.”

Mondelez has achieved one chocolate of five in our Chocolate Box
Mondelez has achieved one chocolate of five in our Chocolate Box – The Big 5 Ranked

Ferrero have stated they will purchase a total of 20,000 tonnes of Fairtrade certified cocoa over the next three years. Haigh’s has certified its entire Easter range with UTZ Certified: 70% of the beans they source from around the world now come from UTZ Certified farms. This is a major endorsement for both Fairtrade and the fight for #traffikfreechocolate.

Mondelēz International, owners of Cadbury’s and Milka, are lagging behind. This Easter we’re urging Mondelēz International to set a public deadline for their certification of their entire chocolate range. This means we want to see a Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance or UTZ Certified logo on every chocolate product.

This Easter we have range of simple campaign actions. We believe no child should have to be trafficked to make our chocolate this year. Please join this journey towards #traffikfreechocolate:

  1. We want Mondelēz International to hear us loud and clear, as together we say, we want certified chocolate this Easter. Please sign our petition – let’s deliver 10,000 signatures to them by the end of Easter Sunday.
  2. We have launched a thunderclap! You can show your support of this campaign and spread the message via your social media platforms. The thunderclap will send a simultaneous tweet, amplifying our campaign message, on April 17th. Join us!
  3. Post a message on Mondeléz’s Facebook page asking them to take action.


Mondeléz are the largest chocolate company in the world, owning some of the top chocolate brands. They have the ability to make a huge difference within the chocolate industry.

Only with your help can we apply pressure to Mondeléz and show them we care about child trafficking within the chocolate industry.

Lend us your support for #traffikfreechocolate this Easter.


Behind the scenes of London #fashionweek…

Behind the scenes of LFWend

London fashion week for many is four days of glitz, glamour and elation as reams of clothes spill out of designer’s sketchbooks onto the runway. For four days, articles pop up on our favourite fashion magazines dissecting everything from the length of hems to the latest prints on sheepskin jackets…

And, like many others, I count myself as one of those people who just can’t resist the intrigue of an industry that is built around its aesthetic value.

Which is how I found myself arriving, last week, at London fashion weekend, gleefully armed with a free tote bag and goodies. Lured in by the stacks of striking dresses at reduced prices in dozens of pretty rooms, it was hard to see how something as nice on the eye as a beautifully cut, sequinned, cotton t-shirt could do any harm.

But we know it does.

Cotton T-shirtsBehind the scenes of London #FashionWeek, and the Weekend showcase, is a complex supply chain. The cotton t-shirt that I stood admiring, and wondering if my bank balance would ever stretch to accommodate, was as likely as any other to have passed through many hands, through various mills and factories, to the fashion house that would carefully place it upon its shiny rails.

And of the many hands that could have been responsible for its making, could have been a young woman or girl with a story like Ms A.J.  Ms A.J was taken to a mill by a human trafficker, and was employed in the cleaning section of a spinning mill. She had been told by the mill’s management that she would receive 3000 rupees after completing three years of work.

Ms A.J was not provided with a monthly salary – just food and accommodation. While on the scheme, she was beaten by other workers, and could not tell her parents what was happening to her. She had no money and could not escape from the mill. Social Action and Voluntary Awareness (SAVE) heard Ms AJ’s story and met her – they told her story to a court, who heard her complaints, and demanded she be freed.

Ms A.J was part of the hidden side of the supply chain, the part that is often given less attention.

Volunteer behind the scenes of LFWInspired by her story, and buoyed to take action to draw attention to the too often unnoticed section of the cotton supply chain, I approached a high-street fashion retailer the next day to deliver my postcard for the Make Fashion Traffik-Free campaign. It became clear, throughout my conversation with a sales assistant, that we all want our clothes, wherever we buy them, to be traffik-free.

Next time I visit London fashion week, I want to be able to gaze, guilt-free, at t-shirts that were made by people paid more than 98p per day. I want the hands my cotton passes through to be ones that see all the benefits of fair labour practices.

Behind the scenes of London #FashionWeek are 200,000 young women and girls trafficked into spinning mills in Tamil Nadu, India. Together, let’s make that change. Join me, and take action, by delivering a post-card to your favourite high-street shop.

The lengths people go to – to STOP THE TRAFFIK


Flowing into our inbox this week have been stories of genuine creativity and ingenuity from our supporters. One of our supporters is literally going to great lengths to STOP THE TRAFFIK; or, should we say, cutting off those lengthy locks to go bald in the name of a good cause. We spoke to Matthew Morton, leader of the University of East Anglia STOP THE TRAFFIK group, who said, ‘Just before Christmas 2013 I took the step of pledging to shave off my hair (my beautiful, long, curly, tenderly conditioned, flowing hair) to raise money for STOP THE TRAFFIK.’

Matthew’s quirky fundraising campaign has struck a chord. Clearly attached to his long locks, and passionate about the prevention of human trafficking, he has exceeded his original fundraising goal of £3,500. The great lengths he has gone to have paid off – at the time of writing, Matthew has raised £4,190.00 thanks to the generosity of people like you.

Matthew is linked into a global network of STOP THE TRAFFIK supporters, all going to great lengths to raise awareness of human trafficking. In New York, our volunteers have persevered through the biting cold, and snow, to attract attention to the issue of human trafficking with GIFT Box USA. The GIFT Box is an interactive exhibit that aims to educate, and inspire action, around human trafficking: people are lured inside the big, colourful, box, before being confronted with the realities of the trafficking trade, as told by survivors.

The USA volunteers have donated their time generously, and gathered over 1,000 signatures since they’ve been stationed in Union Square. Our CEO, Ruth Dearnley, joined them this week, and spoke passionately about those involved: “It is a privilege to work alongside others, who believe that together we can STOP THE TRAFFIK.”

Meanwhile, in a similarly creative vein, STOP THE TRAFFIK Canada has been galvanising supporters into joining their flash mob, taking place on 8th March. They’re asking people to STOP, in the name of LOVE… A reminder that a little love, and a great dance, can help change the world – if we all take action.

Ruth Dearnley, our CEO, is often asked what ‘stop’ looks like. She says it looks like this: global supporters, coming together, going to great and creative lengths, all to raise awareness of human trafficking.

We would love to hear what you’re doing to stop the traffik in your community. Please send us your creative ideas, stories and photos so we can share them with activists around the world – at

Are You a #FashionVictim?

If you were pressed, would you admit to being a fashion victim? Have a think: how many clothes have you bought in the past week, month or year? You might secretly admit to being a fashion victim because you buy clothes you don’t necessarily need but you just can’t live without…

But do you know who made the clothes you are wearing?

It is a little known fact that over 200,000 young women and girls are trafficked to work in the cotton industry in the Tamil Nadu region of India. Thousands of European and North American brands and retailers regularly source their clothes from Tamil Nadua in India, for a total value of around 80 million Euros. This means that trafficked women and girls might have made the clothes you and I are wearing – clothes bought from well-known high street retailers.

Think you’re a fashion victim? Think again.

These are the real fashion victims: the women and girls who spin and weave the clothes that we find in our favourite clothing retailers, branded with our favourite clothing labels.

Women and girls as young as 14 are trafficked into The Sumangali Scheme, which operates under the guise of an ‘apprenticeship opportunity’. Registered as apprentices, instead of as workers, they work for 12 hours a day (the legal limit is 8 hours) and are often required to do up to 4 hours of overtime – for no additional pay.

We believe everyone involved in the making of our clothes should have the right to a healthy and safe working environment – and we think that you have the right to know where your cotton comes from. Speaking to Voice of Russia, our CEO Ruth Dearnley said, “The responsibility is on the retailers, they need to be accountable for the profits they are making. Responsibility is also on us. I want to be able to put on clothes that are traffik free. Those girls today are connected in our global family to what I’m wearing.”

Our supply chains mean that when I put my clothes on in the morning, I’m connected to that 14-year-old girl,” says Dearnley. “I may never see her but she is providing the cotton and weaving and spinning it.

We have been to India and met some of the girls who experienced the scheme. They asked us for one thing: to go and tell people what is going on, and to stop the scheme. We promised them we would.

We want to end the Sumangali scheme and end Make Fashion Traffik-Free, but in order to achieve this, we need you! Change only happens when we work together.

As consumers, together we have a very powerful voice. Together we can change the fashion industry. Most people think that the way they shop isn’t going to do anything – but it does. As a valued customer at your favourite brand or retailer, your voice matters. Next time you are out shopping, take a signed Make Fashion Traffik-Free postcard into your favourite high street retailer urging them to take action. Together we can Make Fashion Traffik-Free.

You can follow the debate on Twitter by using the hash-tag #fashionvictim. Read the rest of Ruth’s interview with Voice of Russia here:  UK fashion retailers urged to scrutinise supply chains to curb trafficking.

Running up that hill

It was a very big white van, a very narrow cobbled street and I was grateful not to be in the driver’s seat.

There were 17 of us with our luggage squashed in the back. We had stopped.

Our route from Rio airport to the destination at the summit would give us panoramic views across this incredible Brazilian city of Rio.

But we were stuck. The van had reached one of the countless tight corners only to encounter a parked removal lorry.

Coming down the hill was a famous yellow Rio taxi. He was faced with the challenge of negotiating the walls, the kerbs, the cobbles and the fact that there was only a fraction of an inch to spare! Everyone in the van gasped as flashes of yellow edged past us and we all heard each other inhale deeply believing it would give the driver an advantage.

Behind us the queue of taxis was growing.

Our celebrations were short lived. Freedom was not at hand. Another taxi poked its cheeky yellow nose around the corner insisting in its right to keep us parked and to find its way, past us, down the hill.

And then another.

And another.

We were stuck.

We were trapped.

We had been parked for 40 minutes with a yellow tail stretching behind us as far as the eye could see in the mirror behind. This was not going to stop.

The removal lorry remained unmoved by its guilt. Yet from behind the passenger door appeared a young man who had been carrying precious cargo to and from the newly purchased home.

I caught his gaze as he glimpsed the crisis.

Suddenly he dropped his load onto the pavement and began to run to the top of the hill.  We lost sight of him but I knew where he was going. I could imagine him, heart pumping, legs pounding, reaching the brow of the hill, placing himself firmly in the middle of the road and signally firmly to all traffik intent on descending to STOP.

10 minutes later the continuous stream of traffik had carefully passed us and there in front of us was the incredible miraculous sight of a clear road.

Cheering, breathing and moving we revved our way round the bend, up the hill and came face to face with our saviour. He grinned as we passed him.

He had known the truth that we were searching for.

If we want to stop the traffik we have to get to the top of the hill and disrupt the system. We cannot stop the traffik waiting on the bend recusing one taxi at a time to escape down the hill.

We need to raise a generation of people across every community willing to climb to the top of the hill and shout STOP.

Join us and be part of STOP THE TRAFFIK in 2014!

Turn up the volume but cut down the noise

Last week the global Stop the Traffik and Finance against Trafficking teams met in Rio, congregating in a convent at the top of the hill in the St Theresa district. We came from all over the globe, with one mission- to strengthen our commitment to preventing human trafficking.

From across the globe, men and women shared their stories. Despite hearing about the grotesque crime so many times before, it still moves me to hear about the injustice to society, the deception, the violence, the betrayal, the children that are deprived of their childhoods, and in many cases their lives. The ongoing demand for cheap goods by consumers who are all too often oblivious to the fact that –

  • the cotton in the shirt they are wearing was grown and picked by forced labour
  • the chocolate they eat is made with cocoa harvested by children bought and sold
  • the tea they drink is built on an empire of unacceptably low wages and slavery,

Consumer choices only serve to fuel this crime.  Arguably worse, is  the culture of today that views sex as a commodity, a right.

The picture of the victim rescued is a heart rendering one, but to focus on the rescue it reinforces the easily attained ‘feel good’ factor for many businesses and people- a tangible success. One person at a time is not enough.

Prevention does not have that same ‘instant gratification’. It is harder, much harder, to build a campaign raising awareness of human trafficking, to build proper frameworks into business models, to ‘sell’ the idea that through prevention we can rescue more than one person at a time.  There needs to be a strategy to do both.

So what does ‘stop’ look like? What does a community that is traffick free look and feel like? What does a business that understands and responds to its ethical supply chain risks look like? This is the challenge for us all.

Even more difficult is understanding the dynamics of this crime.- the profile of the traffickers keeps mutating, other than the constant desire for one thing: money. However they can get their hands on it.

People’s perceptions of the victims of trafficking are not accurate either. It is often the braver ones in society (children excluded) that fall victim to being trafficked – they are the ones promised a better life, better education, a chance to help their families. Some don’t even realize  they are victims after the fact – an astonishing truth uncovered during the UNGift box initiative during the Olympics. It really can happen to anyone. And for a mother with two young daughters that is a terrifying contemplation.

So the time is now – to turn up the volume against human trafficking. It’s time for all age groups and sectors across society to join forces, and to start ‘seeing’  and acting – be it schools, churches, sport clubs, or business. There is a role for each one of us to help raise awareness to prevent the trafficking of people. “People should not be bought or sold.” Simple.

This is a guest blog by Finance Against Trafficking, written by Colleen Theron, originally posted on CLT Envirolaw.

Alleged slavery case shines light on need for awareness of exploitation

Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA
Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA

Did you see last week’s news? An unprecedented case of alleged modern-day slavery was revealed, with three women released from an unnoticed 30 years of captivity.

Whilst details remain unclear, further investigations by police have revealed that the women were likely subject to extreme emotional control and psychological abuse. A criminal psychologist on the BBC commented that the recent details of those involved “appeared to suggest a ‘kind of political cult’ or ‘enforced commune’ was in effect holding the captives ‘almost in a psychological cage’”.

Whether this is officially stamped as a case of human trafficking or not remains to be seen. However, what is clear is that this situation was taking place on an ordinary residential street in central London and no one seemed to know.

It raises the issue about how we inform people of modern-day slavery and ensure they know what to look for, and what to do if they see something suspicious. Not just neighbours and people in the local community should know how to spot the signs, but also the local authorities and frontline professionals.

It has been claimed that at least one of the women involved had attempted to escape, with local authorities subsequently becoming involved with the household. The three women are believed to have interacted with public services throughout these 30 years, leading to the question: how did this go unnoticed?

A key factor is that often frontline professionals have not been trained in how to spot the signs of human trafficking and the different types of exploitation. Significant signs can be interpreted in many ways, for example limited access to a person’s legal documents, lack of self-esteem and distrust of authorities could indicate a variety of circumstances. However, they are also signs that a person could be in a situation where they are being exploited. This case highlights how essential it is that frontline professionals are trained to spot the signs so fewer cases of exploitation go unnoticed.

Through our ‘Spot the Traffik’ resources, frontline professionals and their communities can learn to know what exploitation looks like and who to tell, and take action in their area through STOP THE TRAFFIK groups.


We had a busy few days and spoke to many different media outlets about the issues surrounding slavery and human trafficking. See the coverage:

Katie Barker, UK Community Action Coordinator on ITV and quoted in the Guardian.

Katie Barker, UK Community Action Coordinator, on ITV.
Katie Barker, UK Community Action Coordinator, on ITV.

We commend Freedom Charity, who helped these women to safety, and hope that this case will spur communities to make a change and work to sense it, spot it and stop it.

Postcard Delivery Day: update on meeting with Mondelēz

On Friday 18th October, Andy, Katy and Beth from STOP THE TRAFFIK accompanied by four students from Oasis Academy Mayfield delivered over 6000 postcards to Mondelēz UK office in Uxbridge.

The culmination of over a year’s campaigning this was an opportunity for some grassroots activists to meet face to face with top level representatives from the company we’ve been focusing on.

Tia, Lara, Lewis and Sean are year 11 students from Oasis Academy Mayfield where they have been selected for the role of Global Ambassadors! They have been leading on campaigning activity and were looking forward to asking Mondelēz some direct questions about their plans. This was a seminal moment at STOP THE TRAFFIK, as it was the first time we’ve taken campaign supporters to meet a chocolate company.  These four students boldly took on the role of representing the voices of everyone who has signed a postcard and engaged in the campaign.

We gathered at London Waterloo, laden with suitcases fit to bursting with thousands of Traffik-Free Toblerone postcards. After a (Fairtrade) hot chocolate we set off on the journey discussing their thoughts and questions on the campaign.

We were welcomed at the Mondelēz offices by key figures from their Communications team, Sara Sizer, Director of Corporate Affairs for Mondelēz Europe and Nicola Gilchrist, Director Corporate Affairs Central Europe whose role includes overseeing the work on child labour.

It was a triumphant moment when we emptied the thousands of postcards in their reception area for a photo-shoot. 100 or 200 postcards would simply not have had the same impact. The sheer number of signed postcards spoke volumes about just how many people care about this issue. 

The students led the meeting and asked their questions about why the issue of child trafficking in the cocoa supply chain has been known about for so long but so little action has taken place. They asked about timelines and accountability and they asked if Mondelēz thought their consumers cared.

Sara and Nicola were eloquent and articulate in describing the progress Mondelēz have made to date, their passion for taking action on this issue and their commitment to finding a real solution to the problem. Their willingness to welcome us into their office and speak openly about the issue also speaks well in their favour.

Mondelez meet the students

However, the sticking points have not been unstuck. There is not going to be a commitment to make Toblerone or the rest of their chocolate range certified. We believe this is a key first step in tackling child trafficking due to the third party, independent monitoring and verification this provides. However, they are committed to finding a solution through their cocoa life programme.

Their Cocoa Life programme includes lots of plans most recently their newly published Child Labour Guidance Document. However, there are no targets or timelines included to provide accountability about when this activity will be delivered and what the scale of it will be. There are also no details of who might provide an independent, third-party verification of their progress and impact.

It is clear that companies are listening. Without the distribution of over 70,000 postcards and letters in the UK, Australia and other countries as well as over 600 supporters on social media, would this conversation have even taken place?

It is vital we maintain a clear campaign voice to industry.

During a post-meeting debrief with the students Lara summed up their thoughts on the meeting, “this isn’t good enough at all, they need to take more of a lead. They are the biggest chocolate company in the world and they could make a big difference!

Our campaign continues.




Footage of the trip is coming soon!