Its Time To Speak Out - Let's End Human Trafficking

Tonight as I write my blog there are literally millions of people all over the world being sold into slavery.  It has been estimated at around 27 million people. The same internet highway that allows me to communicate with you allows others to buy and sell fellow human beings. Naively, many of us thought that slavery ended with Wilberforce and his social reformers. Unfortunately, today a sophisticated network of international criminals operate at all levels buying and selling men and women and even children into all kinds of slavery. Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal activity in the world. It has been estimated that there are at least 2 million children involved in the commercial sex trade, and according to the United Nations out of 192 countries 161 are involved with this trade. It has been estimated that in the United States the average age of sex slavery is 13 years. Many are being sold into the sex industry, while others are working in sweat shops, or imprisoned and manipulated   psychologically, being controlled by a pimp or a gang master.  Human trafficking ,( sexual, domestic,industrial, and agricultural) is a 32 billion dollar annual industry.  This is a colossal amount of money and it is protected at all levels of society. Money and power go together. I was standing in Edinburgh Airport waiting for my flight to be called when I bumped into my MP Michael Connarty. Michael reminds me of myself, if he has a message on his mind he gives you it . No questions asked you listen. I'm usually happy to listen to  Michael he's a man with a great heart to see justice being done and fighting for worthy causes. So he told me  about his bill  that will come before Parliament on Friday  entitled "Transparency in the UK Company Supply Chains, ( Eradication of Slavery Bill) He's hoping that it will get through its second reading on Friday, Thursday evening is the night when he hopes to persuade wavers to support his Bill. I was so incensed  by what I heard that I've decided to go back down to London today and support this Bill. Now you would think this Bill would have no opposition, but in recent years I'm told that Private Members Bills have never received Royal Assent without the support of the Government. ThisBill will need Lib Dem and Conservative backing. One other difficulty is that there is a small group of MPs who are opposed in principle to Private Members' Bills and so they deliberately filibuster debates if the time allotted runs out. Let's hope that thee tactics are not used on Friday if they are the MPs should be named and shamed.  The Bill is supported by the Church of Scotland through our membership of the Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility.  The Church of Scotland also received a report on human trafficking earlier this year at the General Assembly the report was produced by the ACTS Group and in 2007 the Church and Society Report highlighted this issue . The term of the Bill are as follows: To require large companies in the UK to make annual statements of measures taken by them to eradicate slavery, human trafficking, forced labour and the worst forms of child labour (as set out in Article 3 of the International Labour Organisation's Convention No. 182) from their supply chains; to require such companies to provide customers and investors with information about measures taken by them to eliminate slavery, human trafficking, forced labour and the worst forms of child labour; to provide victims of slavery with necessary protections and rights; and for connected purposes. This I believe is an important Bill to raise awareness among employees and workers . More and more people are getting interested in where and how and by whom the products they buy are made. The Church of Scotland believes itself to be unfaithful to the call of  Christ if we remain silent on an issue like this. Hence we applaud all the efforts of politicians and others who are seeking to right this wrong. We too want tyo be counted among those who spoke out!

Posted By: italker   On: 19 Oct 2012   At: 11:31pm

Thank you louise. Really interesting article.


Posted By: Louise Hankin   On: 18 Oct 2012   At: 2:31pm

When you’re in London, you might be interested to visit a monument unveiled a few years back in the heart of the City.  As relevant today as ever, as your message underlines.  And a timely reminder to all the City folk about what’s important as they go about their business.

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