Update From UKC Against Human Trafficking
From the start of term UKC Against Human Trafficking, a brand new student led volunteer group, has been engaged in non-stop events and planning. UKC against Human Trafficking exists to shock, raise awareness and call to action students at the University of Kent to stop the trafficking of people into modern day slavery locally and globally.
Our first event was Fresher’s Fair in September where we raised awareness about Human Trafficking and gave opportunity for students to sign up to hear more about the group. One of the most effective ways of getting the word out that Human Trafficking is a local as well as international problem was by getting people’s attention. I was holding a whiteboard with stories of trafficking, roaming round campus, while Alex Tilley (co team leader) tried to “sell” me as a way of raising awareness about people being trafficked in Kent. You might have seen us on October 18th –on Anti Slavery Day– in a shopping trolley, being karted around campus. It got people’s attention and also emphasized the fact that men and women are treated and sold as commodities by human traffickers.
In October we held three events to raise awareness about Human Trafficking on Campus. We watched a film ‘I Am Slave,’ and celebrated Anti-Slavery Day and an event with a former Kent police chief. “I Am Slave” depicts what life is like to be trafficked from one country to another and how the victim feels there is no escape. The film did a good job of consolidating on the big screen stories that we had been conveying to raise awareness on the issue of human trafficking. From watching this film and participating in volunteering with Stop the Traffik ‘Gift Box’ campaign over the summer.
Anti Slavery Day
The next event we held was in coordination with Anti-Slavery Day on 18th October, 2012. Kent was one of many places in the UK that held Anti-Slavery events (please see map below). That day UKC against Human Trafficking raised awareness on campus and in the evening held a presentation about the history of slavery and the effects of modern day slavery now.
The following week we hosted our first guest speaker, Cliff Grieve, former Kent Police Detective Superintendent. He explained a brief overview of Human Trafficking and the effect it had in Kent and the surrounding areas. It was interesting to get the perspective on the impact in Kent and other countries such as Moldova, Sweden and India. Moldova has lost the social demographic of 15-18 year olds due to trafficking; in Sweden it is a crime for men to buy sex and 10 million people alone in Northern India have been involved in trafficking. We were also given some statistics such as 1 in 7 rapes were reported to the Police via the British Crime Survey. It was an interesting viewpoint compared to a group working to prevent Human Trafficking.
Selling Doughnuts To Raise Awareness
In the future we are hoping to start a campaign selling Krispy Crème doughnuts to taxi drivers with a view to raising human trafficking awareness in this key demographic. The money raised will go toward underwriting the cost of the program.
Here is how from the taxi campaign started: Brenda had an extended conversation with a taxi driver in Liverpool about human trafficking on her way home from a Stop the Traffik event. The taxi driver revealed that he had been concerned about a previous passenger, but hadn’t known what to do about it. Brenda realised at that point that taxi drivers could be one of the few people that come into contact with victims of trafficking. Following this, a number of cases have emerged where taxis have been used to transport victims of trafficking to and from situations where they have been abused.
The effects on Human Trafficking are having a huge impact across the UK. In Kent, 29th October, a man was convicted and sentenced to twenty years behind bars for trafficking girls from Nigeria and this week it’s been revealed that the 30 Lithuanian men trafficked for forced labour to Maidstone were enslaved to catch Happy Egg chickens, a brand that promotes animal rights. Cases like these emphasise the need for more action as a community to raise awareness about what is happening down the road. UKC against Human Trafficking’s next event is 19th November where we have Anthonia Haber, Human Rights Officer for the US Embassy speaking about the US and Britain’s stance on Human Rights, focusing on how the US and Great Britain work together to fight human trafficking, information the embassy have on trafficking, what kinds of charities and organizations the governments work with to help combat trafficking. If you’re interested, spread awareness, invite friends and come to this event! Click HERE to access UKC against Human Trafficking on Facebook for our latest news and campaigns of this very exciting group.