Monday 21 October, 7.30pm, St Joseph’s College, Ocotal Way, Swindon, SN3 3LR. Free Admission. All welcome.
Steven Aftelak of Unchosen Swindon writes
Millions of people around the world and thousands across the UK & Ireland are sold into exploitation and slavery every year – but it is a crime that takes place in the shadows.
Over 60 filmmakers entered the first Unchosen Human Trafficking Short Film Competition to shine a light on this dark trade. Based on real life cases, the shortlisted films are now touring the UK & Ireland to show what slavery looks like in the 21st Century – and what WE can do to stamp it out.
Human Trafficking is a hideous but largely hidden crime which operates in the community and will only be halted by the community. Our aim to bring Human Trafficking to the attention of the people of Swindon.
Three of the shortlisted films are being shown on 21 October:
Nicu (directed by Niki Anastasi): Meet Nicu, a 9-year old boy trafficked from Romania. Nicu and his friend roam the streets of London, stealing what they can in order to survive.
Let’s Talk About Sex (directed by Li-Da Kruger): Anja and Ian, a man and woman from two vastly different backgrounds with two vastly different experiences of a sexual encounter.
Safina (directed by Tony Clark) deals with the problems faced by survivors of trafficking after they’ve been rescued. The story is about a 16-year old girl from Gambia who managed to escape her trafficker but now has to prove to the UK authorities that she is actually under 18 and therefore entitled to protection.
The films will be followed by a Q&A session with a panel including the director of the film Nicu, and the following guests:
• Rob Findlay, Detective Sergeant, Wiltshire Police, Human Trafficking / Exploitation Intelligence Unit
• Amanda Wilsdon, Trafficking & Grooming Coordinator, Gloucester Domestic violence Support & Advocacy Project
• Debbie Beadle, Youth Programme Coordinator, ECPAT UK
We will be supporting exhibitions by some of those organisations who either directly or indirectly combat human trafficking: Amnesty International, CAFOD, Christian Aid, Hope for Justice, The Medaille Trust, The Salvation Army, Stop the Traffik, Swindon Harbour Project, Swindon Women’s Aid, and two council departments concerned with Child Safeguarding and reducing domestic violence.
For more information please contact Steve Aftelak 01793 536815; firstname.lastname@example.org
See the full shortlist of entries at www.unchosen.org.uk
Police search for slave workers across the county on 17 October
Wiltshire Police visited various car washes across the county in support of the national campaign to tackle human trafficking in the UK, writes Scott McPherson.
Enquiries were carried out at several locations in Swindon, Salisbury and Melksham and over 40 people were spoken to. This was part of a national operation called Operation Eagle which, through the development of intelligence, the disruption of organised crime and the improvement of victim care arrangements, seeks to tackle the issue of Human Trafficking in the UK.
Wiltshire Police were supported by other partners from UKBA (Borders Agency) and HMRC (Revenue and Customs), UKHTC (UK Human Trafficking Centre). Interpreters were also present in order to speak with some of the individuals present at those sites.
Wiltshire Police are working hard to gather information, build relationships with persons who may be victims of trafficking or exploitation and provide reassurance to local communities.
Throughout yesterday’s visits to car washes, four arrests were made. Two illegal immigrants from Albania were arrested in Swindon and two illegal immigrants from Albania were arrested in Salisbury. A considerable number of individuals from Eastern European countries were found to be working in contravention of their immigration status in the UK. Over 50 people were spoken to and given advice around human trafficking and exploitation.
Detective Inspector Matt Davey, who led Wiltshire’s Operation Eagle said: “This operation was tremendously successful in engaging with hard to reach communities, identifying potential victims of exploitation and enriching our local understanding of the issues.
Often, this sort of crime is hidden from public view and victims who might be vulnerable to modern day slavery or human trafficking feel unable to approach the police due to being fearful and possibly intimidated by others.
We are working together with UKBA, HMRC and UKHTC to ensure that the considerable amount of intelligence that was gathered during the course of the day is shared effectively so that that those identified as being victims of exploitation can be offered the appropriate advice and support and our other longer term objectives can be achieved."
Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon Angus Macpherson said: “I am fully supportive of this operation and on-going police intelligence led work in this area.
“We do live in one of the safest places in the country, with statistics released yesterday showing the current crime rate within Wiltshire is the seventh lowest in England. However that shouldn’t lead to us thinking that we are immune from very serious offences including human trafficking happening here.
“On Monday I will be attending an awareness film event about human trafficking being run by Unchosen Swindon. Through my Innovation Fund I am pleased to support this project as it is helping to better inform people about this subject which isn’t often talked about.”