HUNDREDS of commuters and tourists walking past International Headquarters in central London were greeted with the sight of human 'slaves' being sold at a makeshift market stall. This was, of course, not a real slave sale – it was an attempt to draw attention to the various ways in which people of all ages and backgrounds can be trafficked and forced to work for little or no pay, often under threat of violence.
The slave sale was organised by representatives from the United Kingdom Territory with the Republic of Ireland to highlight Anti-Slavery Day, which is marked in various ways across Europe on 18 October. The Salvation Army in the UK works with the Government to support victims of human trafficking, providing secure accommodation when needed and care and support to meet the needs of this very vulnerable group of people in England and Wales. This is just one of many Salvation Army projects worldwide that address the causes and outcome of trafficking.
A leaflet handed out to passers-by included stories of people helped by The Salvation Army and revealed that 'in less than two years more than 800 victims of human trafficking have been supported by The Salvation Army and its partners'. (More details about the anti-trafficking ministry in the UK can be found online at www.salvationarmy.org.uk/uki/trafficking)
Major Anne Read, Anti-trafficking Response Coordinator for the UK Territory with the Republic of Ireland, led prayers at International Headquarters during a break in the 'sale'. She joined Salvation Army team members in speaking to people who stopped to watch the awareness-raising event, and says she received a positive response, with passers-by interested in what was happening and grateful to learn more about such an important issue.
Report by the Communications Section
- Read about the European Anti-Human Trafficking Conference