A guest post explaining how buying some soap, shampoo, tampons, deodorant and moisturiser could make all the difference for a woman who has escaped trafficking.
This is a guest post by Hannah Sansom for unseen(uk). unseen(uk) is a charity established to disrupt and challenge human trafficking at all levels. unseen’s specific focus is to combat the trafficking of women for sexual exploitation. In this post, Hannah explains how how donating some soap, shampoo, tampons and other items could make all the difference for a woman who has escaped trafficking.
Alina was an 18 year old girl brought up by a poor family from Romania. She was struggling to find a job when she came across an ad in a newspaper for waitress positions in the UK. The job offered good money so she called them up and within weeks she was on her way. Once Alina arrived in the UK, however, her passport, mobile phone and money were taken away from her and she was forced into prostitution. Alina spend 2 years imprisoned by her traffickers and was forced to have sex with at least 10 men each day, earning her traffickers £50 a time; she never received a penny. One day the brothel, where she was held, was raided by police. Alina was rescued and sent to a safe house where she was provided with care and began to rebuild her life.
Human trafficking is a form of modern day slavery. It involves the recruitment, transportation, harbouring or receiving of an individual through means of force or coercion for the purpose of exploiting them. Exploitation may involve forced prostitution, domestic servitude, forced labour, or the removal of organs.
According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, more than 2.4 million people are being exploited by traffickers at any one time. The industry itself is now estimated to be worth £32bn per year, making it more lucrative than narcotics.
At least 50 victims of human trafficking are discovered in the UK every month; although it is widely believed that, due to the underground nature of the industry, many more cases go unreported.
unseen(uk) exists to support women who have been trafficked, in to the UK, for the purpose of sexual exploitation, by providing safe shelter, care packages, medical treatment, counselling and legal advice. Prevention is also a central part of unseen(uk)’s work. We aim to gather an understating of the scale and nature of human trafficking and educate the general public, police, GPs, hospital staff, Local Councils and Authorities on what human trafficking is; how to spot the signs and what to do if you suspect someone has been trafficked.
Victims of sexual exploitation lose their right to be free from cruel and inhumane treatment, the right not to be held in slavery or involuntary servitude, the right to health, dignity and security and the right to be free from violence. The aftercare that unseen(uk) provides to victims is vital to regaining and securing these rights and re-claiming their self-worth.
Care packages are an important element of this process and provide basic necessities to women who may have arrived at unseen(uk) with no belongings after fleeing from their traffickers or being rescued by police. When victims arrive they need clothing, basic hygiene items such as soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste, sanitary items and deodorant as well as new underwear, pyjamas and basic clothes. Such basic items can provide much comfort to these women. If you are interested in contributing to unseen(uk)’s work by giving care packages to human trafficking victims please see how to donate items here, or get in touch at email@example.com
To learn more about human trafficking and unseen(uk)’s work please visit www.unseenuk.org/