Invisible Traffick Intern Interview

In a few weeks we are going to be welcoming a lady called Victoria from America to the Invisible Traffick team.  She is coming to spend some time with Invisible Traffick in both their Northern Ireland and Ireland base and we can’t wait to have her with us! I got the chance to ask her a few questions before she arrives and here is what she said…!

 

Hi Victoria, we can’t wait to welcome you as part of the team! Could you tell me a bit about yourself?

My name is Victoria Stanek. I just graduated from the University of New Hampshire in the United States with my Bachelors in Social Work. I love to be outdoors, close to nature. I enjoy kayaking and hiking.

 

When did you first find out about the world of human trafficking?

Good question. I think it was during my first year of high school. Someone from Child Voice came and told us about child soldiers in Uganda and how they were being kidnapped and forced to fight. That was the first form of human trafficking I had heard of. It was heartbreaking and really stayed with me. From then on I was really drawn to learning more about the atrocity of human trafficking whenever I could.

 

 

What has been your involvement in the field of anti-human trafficking work up until now?

Human trafficking has been my focus for all of my research papers and studies. I have tried to specialize in it where my time at in college has allowed. During my time at college I interned at a crisis center called HAVEN. HAVEN is a crisis center for men, women, and children who are victims or survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, or human trafficking. There, I was a client service intern. I worked on the hotline, I went to court with them to support them while trying to get restraining orders granted, I did a lot of emotional support and processing with clients. I supported clients while they worked with the police to press charges against those causing them harm. I also created an hour long training course on human trafficking and how best to work with survivors in a client service setting. In addition to this I did community outreach in local bars, tattoo parlors, restaurants, motels, and other places where I thought vulnerable individuals at risk of trafficking or those being trafficked may go. This outreach involved spreading word of my crisis center, HAVEN and the services we offered, as well as trying to educate the community about human trafficking.

 

Lastly, I just got back from a trip to Sri Lanka and Nepal with my brother. My older brother is starting his own organic, fair trade tea business, importing tea into America. I traveled with him to learn about the labor conditions in the tea estates we went to, ensuring that we were pleased with the way the workers were treated, their living conditions, and compensation. Labor trafficking is very pervasive in tea plantations (especially in India) so we wanted to be very careful as this business is being started about the people we source from and the things we support though the relationships we make. I learned a lot about labor conditions, living conditions, and social welfare in these countries. I also got the chance to meet with Asha Nepal and Maiti Nepal, two NGOs in Kathmandu that work to fight sex trafficking in Nepal. They do incredible work.

 

How did you find out about Invisible Traffick?

I was doing research about human trafficking and NGOs that fight human trafficking in Ireland when I came across Invisible Traffick’s website. I was encouraged to learn about the great work you do and wanted to reach out!

 

Have you ever been to Ireland?

Yes, I have been to Ireland before. Once for a short trip about two years ago. For this trip, I am most looking forward to working with Invisible Traffick and learning all about the work you do, the differences in the field in the U.S. and Ireland as well as the similarities. I am excited to learn and do whatever I can to help during my time here.

 

Thank you so much Victoria, see you soon!

 

Education Facilitator Visits St. Columbanus College

Today our Education Facilitator was at St. Columbanus College in Bangor with their year 8 classes

They were a great wee bunch and are a rights respecting school so the teacher was very keen!

Could we come to your school, your children’s school or the school you work at? Contact chloe@invisibletraffick.org

 

Glenlola Collegiate School – Caring about Charities

This year, pupils in Senior School at Glenlola Collegiate pulled together to organise events to raise money for their nominated charities. These events included a Bun Sale, Christmas Extravaganza, Christmas Jumper day, an Easter raffle and an exciting School Colour Run.

The Year 14 pupils selected ‘Invisible Traffick’ as their charity. Receiving a cheque for £2,392, Charity Co-ordinator, Gayle Bunting praised the efforts of the pupils:


‘Invisible Traffick’ is completely overwhelmed by the financial support received from the Year 14 girls of Glenlola Collegiate School. When I heard of the amount raised, I was completely overwhelmed and in realising the amount of hard work that the girls have put in to support the work of I.T. made it a very emotional morning for me. This financial support will be going towards our recently launched Freephone Helpline, 0808 800 8001 which will enable us to extend our opening hours to answer the missed calls and most importantly to reach vulnerable persons who have been coerced into the horrendous crime of human trafficking, that is happening on our own very doorstep in North Down. The funds will also go to support the development of workshops designed at engaging with secondary and third level students.’

Garnerville Presbyterian Church Coffee Morning

Thank you so much to everyone who came along to and helped organise our coffee morning and Bric-an-brac sale at Garnerville Presbyterian Church.

It raised a grand total of £858 & this money will be going toward our helpline to help us to reach and identify victims of human trafficking in Northern Ireland.

 

Garnerville Presbyterian Church Service

A few weeks ago we had a brilliant morning sharing at Garnerville Presbyterian Church about the horrors of human trafficking in NI & what we are doing to fight it!

Could we come to chat to your organisation, work or church? Email gayle@invisibletraffick.org!

Lurgan Elim Fashion Show

Invisible Traffick was struggling with the problem of restricted opening hours of our Support Helpline and also access to funding.  To help resolve this we decided to put an add in the January edition of Elim life announcing a recruitment/volunteer day on 10th Feb 2018. Pastor Mark from Lurgan Elimcalled me in Jan explaining that God had really put it upon his heart to help victims of human trafficking and wanted to offer us support. We hosted a presentation in March at the church and this was followed up by a fundraiser Fashion Show on 12th April, this event was totally organised by Lurgan Elim. From the minute Ash and I arrived we were  both touched and amazed by the kindness an hospitality we received, from the models, to the compere, the staging, and lighting this was all so very professional we thought we had stepped into a Hollywood studio in California!!  Our prayers were answered this amazing night taught me to never underestimate the power of God, and the heart of his people…It has also touched the hearts of our volunteers, an astonishing £3000 was raised! thiswill enable us to extend the helpline opening hours and answer those very important Missed Calls

 

A huge thank you again to Lurgan Elim!

Invisible Traffick Social Media Coordinator Does TEDx Talk

A few weeks ago our social media coordinator did a TEDx Talk in order to make the invisible world of human trafficking visible!

The TEDx Video will be on YouTube in a few weeks & will be uploaded here.

 

Nefarious Documentary Screening

Thank you so much to everyone who came along to our film night of Nefarious: Merchant of Souls.  Nefarious is a hard-hitting documentary that reveals the disturbing trends of modern day sex slavery through the eyes of both the enslaved and their traffickers.  It was an amazing opportunity to learn from international humanitarian leaders, be inspired by the gripping and triumphant testimonies of survivors and hear an interview with a real trafficker.

Everyone who attended was really moved by the sense of injustice that slavery is.  We are so grateful for their support and donations – you are helping us to reach our dream of a world free from slavery!

 

Invisible Traffick Blog Featured on Helplines.org

Our Director, Gayle Bunting, recently spoke to helplines.org about the work that Invisible Traffick does to support the victims of human trafficking. Read it below or check it out via this link – https://helplines.org/n…/helpline-tackles-human-trafficking/

 

‘Figures from the National Crime Agency show that in the three months from April to June 2017, 1090 victims potential victims of human trafficking were reported in England, 52 in Wales, 47 in Scotland and 11 in Northern Ireland. The 1,200 potential victims were from 83 different nationalities with Albania, the UK and Vietnam being the most commonly reported.

The reasons why people are trafficked varies. Trafficking victims may be sexually exploited, used as forced labour, forced to beg, forced into sham marriages, coerced in to criminal exploitation, exploited for benefit fraud or forced to work as domestic servants.

We talked to Gayle Bunting, Director of our member Invisible Traffick, about the work the charity does to support victims of human trafficking.

“Invisible Traffick is an anti-human trafficking charity based in Northern Ireland, although we operate across the UK and Republic of Ireland. We are passionate about eradicating human trafficking. Human Trafficking, otherwise known as modern day slavery, is on the rise in local areas and communities across the UK. In Northern Ireland the statistics of identified potential victims of human trafficking are extremely low, misrepresenting the true scale of our problem here.

Supporting those affected

In March 2017 we opened our Freephone Helpline, the Helpline serves two purposes; to identify victims of trafficking and to gather information from the public concerning suspicious activity. Our aim is to offer emotional support and help for those who are already affected by human trafficking as well as support to the public who wish to share their concerns.

Identifying victims

The helpline is open from 6-10 pm on Tuesdays and Thursday and 10 am – 2 pm on Wednesday and Fridays. We want to build the capacity of our helpline, extending the opening hours, to allow us to identify as many victims of human trafficking as possible. This is a big area of focus for us.

Working together

Earlier this month, we attended a symposium on Modern Day Slavery, hosted by the BBC’s Karen Patterson. It was a great opportunity to raise awareness among those attending of the of the growing concerns and the problems faced in identifying people who have been trafficked, as well as the challenges of supporting victims of human trafficking in, Northern Ireland, Ireland and throughout the rest of UK.

I had the opportunity to talk to Kevin Hyland (OBE), the UK’s first independent, Anti-Slavery Commissioner who was one of the key speakers at the event. I chatted with him about the importance of having a local helpline dedicated to primarily serving Northern Ireland. He was very interested in hearing more about the support helpline service we are providing and the benefits it is bringing to the local community.”

If you are concerned about human trafficking or want to learn more about Invisible Traffick visit their website for information, support, and advice.’

Help us to…HELP THEM!

Help us to…HELP THEM…WE NEED YOUR HELP!

We need £24000 to extend the opening hours of our Freephone Helpline; a vital tool to help victims.

We are missing calls as we only have the resources to open the Helpline limited hours.

With no government funding we rely solely on the generosity of ordinary people like you.

Donate via this link: https://mydonate.bt.com/events/helplinecampaign

We are very grateful for any amount donated! Tax payers, please tick the gift aid box. Thank you in advance for your kind generosity. You are making an enormous impact on people’s lives. Please share!

A Victim’s True Story

She was an 18-year old student living in London, met a guy, was wined and dined, she fell in ‘love’ with her ‘boyfriend’…or so she thought…

They visited her parents and arranged to meet back in London. This was when he first spoke to her about ‘female escorts’ and making lots of money. She became afraid as his mood suddenly changed…she hadn’t seen this side of him…but he was serious. On the way back to her flat he pulled a gun on her and said, ‘Now you work for me, if you try to escape I will kill your family’.

This turned into a 3-month period she describes as ‘Hell on earth!’ She was gang raped, abused, severely beaten, starved.

She was forced to work in brothels, massage parlours and on the streets…every day she feared for her life, every day she wanted to die. During this horrendous nightmare she was raped over 800 times!

Can you even imagine? This barbaric ordeal continued…until one day, after another life-threatening beating, he left her alone…he told her he knew she was under his total control and she would never leave him…she had seconds to make a decision…a decision to make a phone call…and this phone call…it saved her life.