Local people are being urged to create “keys to freedom” in the campaign to stop human trafficking.
The city council has joined with the City Hearts charity and Stop the Traffik to mark Anti-Slavery Day on 18 October with a special event at the Museum of Liverpool.
Everybody is being invited to draw what freedom means to them on their own ‘key to freedom’. The designs will be made on a key template and will be hung on the Museum’s atrium spiral stairs. They will then be forwarded to MPs in Parliament in support of the Modern Slavery Bill.
Organisations are also being asked to sign a pledge to tackle human trafficking with businesses including hotels, social landlords, and NHS staff being asked to take steps to raise awareness of trafficking within their organisations. This includes inviting Stop the Traffik to train frontline staff.
The pledge says “Men, women and children are trafficked within their own countries and across international borders. Trafficking affects every continent and every country. The answer is for individuals and society to see this crime, listen for it, talk about it, and take action to disrupt this global system! (Name of organisation) pledges to take action to make Liverpool a trafficking free city. ”
The Modern Slavery Bill is intended to simplify the law on trafficking and increase the maximum penalty to perpetrators to life imprisonment. It would also create a post known as the Anti-Slavery Commissioner, introduce a defence for victims prosecuted while being controlled and enable them to receive reparations from the abusers.
Councillor Emily Spurrell, Mayoral Lead for Community Safety, said: “People think slavery is a thing of the past but it is a very real issue happening today. Thousands of individuals are trafficked into cities like Liverpool for sex work, domestic servitude, cannabis farms and other types of forced labour. We want to raise awareness of the issue so we can better identify and stop individuals trafficking in our city.”
Rebekah Turner from Stop the Traffik said “Human trafficking is an absolute outrage against humanity. Yet, it’s the fastest growing crime on the planet. Last year, the sex slave industry profited $32 billion – more than Starbucks, Nike and Google combined. We live in a world where we don’t necessarily know what’s going on in the house next door but we need to start taking more of an interest in what’s going on in our communities. We need to recognise that slavery has never gone away. Our only choice is to act – to do everything we can to create a traffick free world and we need everyone to play their part.’
Phil Clayton from City Hearts said “City Hearts is committed to the journey of each survivor as the move from trauma to transformation. It is a great honour to be able to walk alongside men, women and families, bringing them tangible hope and practical help every day. We believe as we work together as a city that we will see many more victims set free and brought back to life.”
Stop the Traffik is a global movement of activists around the world who give their time and energy to build resilient communities and prevent human trafficking. It is a campaigning organisation that seeks to build a traffick-free world. More information from www.stopthetraffik.org/
CityHearts is a charity which “exists to provide hope to the most vulnerable, with the goal of loving them back to life,” More information atwww.city-hearts.co.uk/