Susan said, “I’ve been passionate about getting involved in tackling the issue of human trafficking since I was 11 or 12. I’ve always done activities in my spare time to raise awareness for the cause. I spent a lot of time researching modern slavery, collecting facts and trying to discover what I can do to confront this issue. I had heard of the organisation A21 and knew that their ‘Walk For Freedom’ reaches thousands of people, so I saw it as an opportunity to raise awareness directly with my friends as well as to support fundraising to fight human trafficking.”
A21 is a global organisation which combats human trafficking, encompassing the buying, selling and transportation of people for purposes of exploitation. They carry out projects to educate vulnerable people on protecting themselves from becoming victims, on working with law enforcement to rescue victims and persecute traffickers, and providing aftercare in safe-houses, helping to restore survivors to a new start.
A21 hosts the Walk for Freedom every year in over 600 locations around the world to raise awareness of human trafficking and to fundraise for their projects. This year, the Walk for Freedom was themed on three individuals who have survived modern slavery. Each participant of the walk wore a yellow bandana across their mouths with a name to represent these survivors, and they carried large signs with stats and figures to spread the word about the shocking costs of human trafficking.
Susan explained, “Before the walk, I spent five weeks posting on my Facebook to inform people about the issue of human trafficking and to inspire them to take action. Many people are not aware of the definition and scale of human trafficking, and what they can do to try and limit the problem. For example, shopping ethically means there is less chance that you are purchasing something which was produced with modern slavery within the supply chain. Sites like The Good Shopping Guide can help you to shop more ethically.”
On the day of the walk, Susan walked in Plymouth with around 50 other people.
Susan said, “We walked silently and in single file along the streets and through the busy city centre. We immediately caught the attention of pedestrians and people in cars. We handed out around 700 leaflets and as I walked silently I could hear people having conversations about what they knew about human trafficking. By the time the walk had ended, we must have passed over two thousand people and prompted hundreds of people to stop and think – and speak out – about human trafficking in the city.”
Susan raised just over £100 for A21, which will contribute towards the running of the organisation’s projects and which make a real difference to the lives of potential victims and survivors of human trafficking.
“Together we created a large visual demonstration and encouraged thousands of people to think and talk about modern slavery. When people become interested in an issue they are much more likely to take action, and I hope that my individual and group efforts will continue to make a positive impact.”
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