Thursday, November 23, 2006

Stop the Traffik

Everyone should take note of my banner at the bottom of the page. It's for Stop the Traffik, an international organisation dedicated to stamping out the problem of people trafficking. People don't seem to realise that this is a problem, but it is - people are still being taken from their homes, whether through force or through coercion, and being forced to work in other countries. The most common thing is for women to be sold into prostitution, but this isn't the whole story - men can be sold to work as illegal labour, for example, or children into organised begging.

Let me tell you a story. There was once a young Moldovan girl who dreamed of living in the West. It would be fantastic, there was enough work for everyone and the standard of living was something she could only imagine. With her boyfriend of six months, she planned and planned and finally the boyfriend managed to get visas for them to work in Holland. She was so excited - finally all her dreams were coming true, she was going to make a better life for herself. Her parents were happy too, although her mother was cautious enough to give her daughter a leaflet on people trafficking. She didn't expect it to happen, she explained, but it was better to be safe. Needless to say, the girl got angry, accused her mother of not trusting her, why couldn't she just accept that she was finally out of this life?

The girl and her boyfriend took the train to Amsterdam from Moldova. She was so excited, looking around her in amazement, planning what she was going to do. He seemed quiet, but she just thought he was nervous. After all, they had left everything they knew behind them.

When they arrived in Amsterdam they were met on the platform by a man who knew the boyfriend. The two wandered off a short distance to chat, while the girl was taking in the atmosphere. She was finally here! And they already had a friend to show them around, show them what to do etc. After a short while the other man came over to her, introducing himself and saying that he'd get her settled in to the flat he'd organised. She asked after her boyfriend - he's following later, she was told, he has a few things to do. That was fine, she thought, she could start getting this flat in order for them. She followed the man.

They arrived at the flat and he opened the door. It wasn't until he pushed her inside that she realised something was wrong. "You've just been sold to me," he hissed. "You're going to work as a prostitute, and any money you earn is mine."

She'd been sold by her "boyfriend".

Fortunately, she managed to escape after six months. Others aren't so lucky.

This is why I want EVERYONE to take just two minutes and go to and sign the declaration there. This problem NEEDS to stop - estimates tell us that in our modern and equal world there are more people in slavery than there were when it was legal.

I've never cared about something as much as I care about this. Please help.

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