Tag Archives: human trafficking

The moment of truth

I’m standing in the queue in Starbucks, waiting for my turn with the frappachino and herbal tea requests.  I’m here for a meeting.  In less than two hours I’ll be at another meeting with an MP – a former Home Office Minister who knows his stuff – and I’m exhausted.

I jolted awake at four this morning from another horrendous nightmare.  My job involves thinking about human trafficking and exploitation day in day out and unfortunately this is not without its side effects.

I also have another minor problem on my hands.  At 11am this morning I realised there was a small hole in my skirt.  Unfortunately this hole is located directly over the butt area.  I quite like my bum as it is, but my skirts do have to stretch a little to fit and tend to give way at inconvenient moments – for example, during 11am meetings with lots of men. (This is me we’re talking about – I mean, my skirt was never going to wait for an all-girl slumber party.)

I quickly excused myself from the manly meeting (walking backwards out of the room as normally as possible) and rushed to my colleague, Gemma, to ask for her opinion.  Is the hole noticeable?  Can I possibly get away with it for a whole 30 minutes in the presence of an esteemed politician?  Her contorted expression, trying to hold back a pained smirk, confirmed the answer as a firm NO.  Five minutes later, I emerged from the bathroom with a safety pin holding my skirt together.  Unfortunately this was not the world’s most sturdy piece of metal and within minutes I had an undone pin protruding out of my bottom, ready to puncture anyone who got too close.

So here I stand in Starbucks – exhausted, slightly traumatised, with a safety pin sticking outta my butt.  If I’m looking for a sign that something in my life has got to change, this is it.

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Small talk

I’m on the flight home from Stockholm (beautiful, but freezing, city) where I’ve spent the weekend getting to know some incredible people who dedicate their lives to combating trafficking and sexual exploitation.  When you meet people for the first time, the same three questions usually come up in conversation:  What is your name?  Where have you come from?  What do you do for a living?

The expected response is one of concise, uncontroversial chitchat.  However, for those of us who work with such somber issues, the opportunity to freak people out for our own amusement is hard to turn down. The old favourites of “I work in prostitution” or “I dabble in a spot of people trafficking” usually do the job.

So I’m sitting here, next to a very polite middle-class couple who I’m considering engaging in conversation.  When the inevitable third question comes up, I could just tell them that I’m a charity worker.  However, I’ve had quite an intense few days and I’m tempted to freak them out a little with one of the classic lines.

Or I could just go for broke and tell them I’m a hired gun.  It’s been a long week.


Cold Turkey

Valentine’s day.  For many, the priority is to shower their beloved with kisses, presents and flowers.  For me, 14th February presents a wonderful excuse to focus my energy on my first love, Chocolate.   Well… it’s everywhere at the moment, right?  Why even try to resist?

I’m not going to lie to you, I’m a little addicted… OK, so more than just a little addicted.  It has long been a problem, but it got worse when I discovered that 43% of the world’s cocoa is likely to have come from farms where children have been trafficked and forced to work against their will.  I did a bit of investigating and discovered that one sure-fire way of ensuring that I only eat slavery- free chocolate is by sticking to the fair-trade variety.

“Brilliant.” I thought to myself “Now that I’m restricted with my chocolate choices I will consume far less and be a beacon of health.”

Wrong.

Now, every time I see a bar of Divine or Dairy Milk I think “If I eat this I’ll be supporting local, slave-free farmers.  I’ll be saving the world one piece of choc at a time.  It’s my duty to both God and society to buy this chocolate bar, damn it.”  I won’t divulge how bad it’s got but let’s just say that a direct choc drip to my arm wouldn’t be a far cry from the current situation.  I clearly need some kind of intervention.

Thankfully there are other options to direct my energy into this year.  Please consider giving me moral support on my chocdetox by getting involved too.

The first is Stop the Traffik’s Have a heart Nestle campaign.  Click here to join me in asking Nestle to ensure that all their chocolate is traffic free.

The second option involves sending a Valentine’s card to someone who I very much doubt either you or I were planning to this year.  Curious?  Details will be posted in a few days…