On July 7th 2012, I went to the launch day for the ‘Gift Box’ Campaign at the Oasis Centre with ‘Stop the Traffik’. It was a really exciting day full of special guests and seminars, where again we were equipped to fight against Human Trafficking. I want to share a few stories, facts and words of encouragement from the day, tell you all about the Gift Box Campaign, and share some more lessons I learnt about being equipped.
Now for me, this has always been an important quote…
“Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.” –Benjamin Franklin
I realise that although I may not be directly affected by trafficking (although it is on my doorstep, and affects many products I buy, and many of the girls could be my sister, my mother or my friend), I should be as outraged and as passionate for change as those who are. Especially as those who are suffering this great injustice are often not able to speak out or defend themselves.
“Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be.”
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” Martin Luther King Jr
For these reasons I am always so passionate about getting involved in any campaign, action, petition, prayer or otherwise to fight trafficking. And as I said in my last post I think it is so important to equip yourself for the fight.
The ‘Gift Box Campign’ was an amazing joint initiative between Stop the Traffik and the UN.GIFT – Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking. Visit the website for the campaign here.
The Campaign had 4 types of art exhibitions based on 4 types of human trafficking- Sexual Exploitation, Forced Labour, Domestic Servitude and Forced Begging. Each exhibit looked like a giant present, which on the outside had some of the lies or promises made to people to deceive them into being trafficked, and on the inside real case studies of trafficking within the UK. It was a creative and excellent idea to share the shocking reality about trafficking and ask people to sign a petition to present to the UN which you can do online here.
As I said the launch day was full of amazing guests and speakers. First the Ambassador of Qatar, who will be hosting the Gift Boxes during the World Cup, and who are doing a national strategic review on trafficking, shared the fact that this is a human cause that effects everyone everywhere.
Steve Chalke – Special Advisor against human trafficking to the UN, and founder of Stop the Traffik shared that our aim should be to make the risks higher and the rewards lower for traffickers so they will have less incentive to make money from trafficking.
Ilias Chatzis from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime also spoke about the fact that trafficking is not just on the margins of society or in the darkest places, but that it is everywhere.
We heard from the Mexican President of Special Commissioning against Human Trafficking, who encouraged us that whilst it took Wilberforce 18 years to pass his law, in Mexico it took only 3 to pass a law to stop all chains of exploitation, and they are seeing major breakthrough.
Kevin Hyland Detective Inspector of SCD9 who are setting the example against human trafficking shared that the ‘Gift Boxes’ are symbolic of what we are trying to achieve as a whole- to get the message out to as many people as possible. If only 1 person is rescued from human trafficking then it will be a success. It has to be a local, national and global fight!
The Gift Boxes were not in the stadiums, but where all the tourists and visitors would be. In St Paul’s Cathedral, West Minster Abbey, Southwark Cathedral/ Borough Market, and many other key locations. 20 Million People will see the St Paul’s Box alone. The Gift Boxes will also be rolled out over the next 10 years at future global sporting events.
We even had a video message from Major of London Boris Johnson showing his support against trafficking!
The ‘Gift Box’ being officially unveiled in typical British weather…
The Gift Box proto-type…
To read the Stop the Traffik blog on the day click here.
After the launch we had the great pleasure of attending 2 seminars put on by the Stop the Traffik team. The first was about Influence, by Simon Chorley UK Co-ordinator.
They talked all about the different spheres of influence we can reach from our local schools and government, police forces, and media, to national and international government and agencies. It’s really important to find out what department trafficking lies within for your local police force. It’s also great to engage with your neighborhood schemes. Partnering and making connections within your communities is vital to see change happen.
I also went to the seminar on Media, as I am a firm believer that media, in particular Social Media can be a powerful tool for spreading the message about the reality of human trafficking, and how to fight against it…
There are so many ways to get informed, then so many ways to get your message out- YouTube/Facebook/Twitter/Google+, Radio, Local/national press, Blogs (WordPress/Tumblr), Stunts/events, Posters/flyers/leaflets, Contacting key local stakeholders i.e. schools/MPs, Local events, Fundraisers etc.
There are some challenges such as apathy or ignorance, but I believe if you are genuine, transparent and persistent with your message, and speak to the right people, that you can make a profound difference even through media. It is all about dialogue not a monologue however, so don’t just bombard people with a message. That’s why the Gift Box is such a great campaign as it opens up conversations. There are lots of resources available on the Stop the Traffik website.
Here is a powerful Youtube video from Stop the Traffik that I love…
Stop the Traffik also have a chocolate campaign at the moment. Cote d’Ivoire is a country in the west of Africa which produces more than 35% of the world’s cocoa crop. 1.8 million children work in the cocoa sector in Cote d’ Ivoire and Ghana. Hundreds of thousands of these children are trafficked and kept as slaves on cocoa farms. To sign their petition click here
“Make no mistake about it, trafficking is torture. It must not be allowed to continue…” Emma Thompson
“Criminals take advantage of the fact that human beings are the world’s most precious ‘commodity’. Let’s finish what Wilberforce stared. We can stop the traffik. And we MUST.” Daniel Beddingfield.
Again I will ask- what can you do to get informed, equipped and empowered to stop human trafficking. Can you fund-raise? Petition? Spread the message? Use social media? Whatever it is…do it!
I will share more in my next post about how me and the lovely Sabine got on during our 4 days volunteering for the Gift Box Campaign.
And I will leave you with this quote…
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing”. – Edmund Burke