Saturday, 28 January 2012

Human Trafficking Research

I'm doing my dissertation on human trafficking, the London 2012 Olympics and the work of Christian organisations. What is really frustrating is that there is hardly any research that is relevant so its proving harder than I originally thought.

There have been a couple of articles that are of some use: one by The Future Group and one by Victoria Hayes.

The other thing that is so frustrating is that the articles that do look like they may be of some use, I can't access unless I buy them and I really am not made of money!!

All the same, it really is very interesting doing this research so I'll just hope for the best :) Although it's a little hard to work with my arm in a sling...

Friday, 19 August 2011

Religious Liberty in the UK at Threat

Four cases are being considered by the European Court of Human Rights regarding situations where Christians have been persecuted due to their faith. These cases are UK cases.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission had aimed to intervene to promote 'reasonable accommodation' for religion.

They have now made a U-turn on this decision; they will still intervene, but not to promote 'reasonable accommodation' for religion.

In the case of Lillian Ladele, the Equality and Human Rights Commission will support the actions of Islington Council in forcing Lillian, a registrar, to decide between losing her employing or going against her Christian beliefs in facilitating a civil partnership.

The charity Relate asked a Christian Counsellor, Gary MacFarlane, to have to make a similar decision when required to choose between keeping his job or help the sexual relationship of a same-sex couple. The Equality and Human Rights Commission will now be supporting Relate.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission do intend, however, to support Nadia Eweida and Shirley Chaplin in their cases. They were both told they were not allowed to wear crosses in the workplace.

A consultation opened on Monday till 5th September. This consultation is asking for people's views on the approach the Commission should take in their intervention on the four cases. Although they currently state that they will not address 'reasonable accommodation', it is still asking for peoples views.

This is a prime example of an occasion that requires Christians to gather together and support each other and the equality they should receive.

The Commission's consultation can be accessed here.

On the bottom of the page there is a link to a downloadable word document that explains further and asks 3 questions that the Commission would like to know your answers to. This is a brilliant opportunity to state how we feel issues around religious liberty should be addressed as people are willing to listen!

Please, please, get involved...

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Aiding Malawi

14th July saw the Government suspend their general budget support for Malawi, this aid is suspended indefinately.

Malawi is one of the poorest counrties in the world with 72% of people on less than $2 a day.

This morning, I had the pleasure of going to the House of Lords to listen to the oral questions. One of the questions was on this issue of aid:

'Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale to ask Her Majesty's Goverment how they intend to distribute United Kingdom aid in Malawi following their suspension of general budget support for Malawi on 14 July.'

The aid was suspended due to economic mismanagement and governance, which is not really a surprise. The UK are not the only ones to react in this way. The World Bank, the EU, the African Development Bank, Germany and Norway have all suspended or ended general budget support to Malawi.

Britain cut aid to Malawi by £3m last year after the purchase of a presidential jet that cost more than £8m.

It is clear to see that the corruption is rife, and many Malawian NGOs have commented on this. The Malawi opposition has also blamed the President for this cut in aid.

While the general budget support has been withdrawn, the Government is still distibuting aid through health and education sectors and are 'committed to ensure aid reaches the poor'. They have also said that the aid has not been 'cut back, but has been re-directed'.

Only time will tell whether this is the case, but it is important to keep hastling Government bodies on this.

On a side note, in the Lords today several comments were made on the lack of interest the public have shown on issues in Parliament such as NHS reforms and the Education Bill. It is possible to write to Lords and MPs on any issue. Please do untilise this - they do try to reply too! Also, don't forget the importance of the House of Lords, while they may be seen as less important, they do vote on issues and they can make ammendments and withdraw ammendments to Bills. (a Bill that is passed becomes an Act - Law!)

(some facts taken from The Guardian)

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Love 146

Love146 is an organisation that work to eliminate child sex trafficking.

This is the story of how they got their name.


"The number pinned to her dress was 146..."

In 2002, the co-founders of Love 146 travelled to South East Asia on an exploratory trip to determine how they could serve in the fight against child sex trafficking. In one experience, a couple of our co-founders were taken undercover with investigators to a brothel, where they witnessed children being sold for sex. This was their experience. This is the story that changed our lives.

"We found ourselves standing shoulder to shoulder with predators in a small room, looking at little girls through a pane of glass. All of the girls wore red dresses with a number pinned to their dress for identification. They sat, blankly watching cartoons on TV. They were vacant, shells of what a child should be. There was no light in their eyes, no life left. Their light had been taken from them. These children...raped each night... seven, ten, fifteen times every night. They were so young. Thirteen, eleven… it was hard to tell. Sorrow covered their faces with nothingness. Except one girl. One girl who wouldn’t watch the cartoons. Her number was 146. She was looking beyond the glass. She was staring out at us, with a piercing gaze. There was still fight left in her eyes. There was still life left in this girl...
"...All of these emotions begin to wreck you. Break you. It is agony. It is aching. It is grief. It is sorrow. The reaction is intuitive, instinctive. It is visceral. It releases a wailing cry inside of you. It elicits gut-level indignation. It is unbearable. I remember wanting to break through the glass. To take her away from that place. To scoop up as many of them as I could into my arms. To take all of them away. I wanted to break through the glass to tell her to keep fighting. To not give up. To tell her that we were coming for her…"

“Because we went in as part of an ongoing, undercover investigation on this particular brothel, we were unable to immediately respond. Evidence had to be collected in order to bring about a raid, and eventually justice on those running the brothel. It is an immensely difficult problem when an immediate response cannot address an emergency. Some time later, there was a raid on this brothel and children were rescued. But the girl who wore #146 was no longer there. We do not know what happened to her, but we will never forget her. She changed the course of all of our lives." -Rob Morris, President and Co-founder

We have taken her number so that we remember why this all started. So that we must tell her story. It is a number that was pinned to one girl, but that represents the millions enslaved. We wear her number with honor, with sorrow, and with a growing hope. Her story can be a different one for so many more.

This is a video recently released by them which is definately worth a watch.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Human Trafficking and Prostitution in Northern Ireland

Amnesty International has raised the issue of inadequate services by the Police Service in Northern Ireland (PSNI).

On average, 880 men use prostitutes a day in Northern Ireland with nearly half a million pound a day spent on prostitution. This is a very high figure. And it is happening in the UK!
It is thought that a large percentage of these women are trafficked and pimped by gangs who offer them a chance of a job, something like a nanny, but end up being advertised as ‘escorts’ for the large demand in Northern Ireland.
This is not something that should be treated lightly, and awareness must be increased.

Fashioned for Freedom

There is an event happening in London tomorrow evening to raise awareness of the issue of human trafficking.

Fashion show, music concert, designers, celebrities...

Come along and see what you can do to raise awareness!

Fashioned for Freedom


Friday, 1 July 2011

Southern Sudan Independence

So in just over a week we will see Southern Sudan become an independant state.

Southern Sudan will become one of the poorest countries with incredibly low human development indicators.

Over the next week please be praying for a peaceful independence chang-over and for a good leadership to be in place. This has the potential to be incredibly violent, but let us pray that it will be as peaceful as possible.

Also, please keep in mind what will now be Northern Sudan. There is increasing tension in the leadership there and with the split the tension could increase greatly.