Click here for yesterday’s general overview of human trafficking.
On Friday night I was able to attend an event hosted by MP David Simpson and MP Peter Bone (Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Human Trafficking) in Portadown which gathered together the many organisations in Northern Ireland working against the problem of Human Trafficking. It was an honour to sit in the same room as the people who are relentlessly fighting this crime from many different angles. Just as when the Belfast Abolition Collective hosted its first networking event in December, that same feeling of encouragement and hope came over me as the almost-tangible sense of determination and unity filled the room. These events are crucial in reminding those who are in the battle that they fight with others who understand, and even better, who share their passion. The physical act of sitting next to one whose heart beats as yours contains something fascinating, something incomprehensibly potent. Not only that – it is crucial that our efforts are united and coordinated if we are ever to abolish the problem of slavery.
I am often asked which organisations ‘normal people’ should look out for/support if they are interested in taking part in the abolition of modern day slavery. Incidentally, the following four wonderful organisations were present on Friday night and I’ve chosen to highlight their work here. There are, of course, many others, whose work I mention in other posts. It is worth also mentioning that since human trafficking is a relatively recently discovered problem in Northern Ireland, our response is in some aspects still in its early stages. Thus, there are not as many organisations carrying out case work here as in other parts of the UK. The PSNI, Migrant Help and Women’s Aid are the groups who come into contact with the victims themselves. Other groups exist to provide a voice for the voiceless and to challenge harmful parts of our culture, which are such important things (as we will see specifically in Thursday’s post).
Women’s Aid – the organisation who hosts and cares for rescued female victims of trafficking in Northern Ireland. They also carry out work in many other situations and contexts.You can hear Deirdre Teague’s seminar on human trafficking in NI from IBN’s conference on the issue last year here.
Stop the Traffik – having watched and been inspired again and again by the spirit and work of Craigavon ACT (the kind of community group Stop the Traffik encourages throughout the UK), they come with such a wealth of experience in raising awareness about the problem of human trafficking where it matters – that is, where the people are. Have a look at their website.
The A21 Campaign – Helen Cupples, the NI rep for A21 was mentioned by the Mayor of Craigavon as having ignited passion in him and spurred him onto organising Friday night’s event. The campaign aims to prevent trafficking, protect victims, prosecute traffickers and partner with law enforcement. You can check out their website here.
International Justice Mission – on the Modern Day Slavery blog, November was IJM month which provided Ruth Cooke, The Church and Development Executive for IJM in Ireland, with an opportunity to highlight their great work and suggest ways to get involed. Have a look HERE.
Tomorrow’s post will cover how human trafficking works.
Thursday’s post will cover the task of challenging the mindset that cradles human trafficking.
Friday’s post, I’m leaving open to your response to the other posts – if you have questions and comments, please contact me and we’ll shape the final post together. Thanks to those of you who have already got in touch!