During the summer there was a lot of publicity, excitement and support around the Commonwealth Games and they were good to watch and enjoy. It was also great to see how the Salvation Army brought together volunteers from various parts of Scotland to form Glasgow 2014 Mission teams who were actively involved with numerous community programmes.
I was a volunteer taking part in an activity which is one that a lot of people find either abhorrent or uncomfortable to hear or speak about. It is the Anti-Human Trafficking campaign. There were over 150 volunteers from all the Christian denominations in Scotland supporting the More than Gold campaign to raise awareness of human trafficking. We did this through the UN Gift Boxes which were strategically placed in Glasgow city centre.
The large, walk-in boxes were intended to symbolise trafficking with each one providing information and first-hand accounts and pictures from victims inside. Each box highlighted a specific aspect of human trafficking - domestic servitude (green), forced street crime (pink), begging and forced labour (blue), sexual exploitation (red). The boxes looked very attractive and inviting which is the whole essence of the human trafficking scenario. The victims are enticed, sold, forced into a situation which in some cases appears to be the answer to their dreams and problems; only to find they are trapped and become victims of human slavery.
It is a modern day horrific crime where millions of lives are being destroyed or are at risk. These victims have no voice and More than Gold together with the many other Christian supporters used the opportunity of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow to gather signatories to petition against human trafficking. Over 16,000 signatures were obtained from members of the public and the boxes significantly raised their awareness of this crime against humanity. The petition will be presented to the Scottish Government to ensure that a Scottish Human Trafficking Bill addresses the vital issue of trafficking within business supply chains.
Since July 2011 The Salvation Army and its partners have supported over 800 victims of trafficking thanks to a £2million fund from the Ministry of Justice. The Salvation Army has committed to raise around £200,000 a year to run the Anti-Human Trafficking Support Programme. This vital programme works together with local authorities, other agencies engaged in anti-human trafficking, the police and other faith organisations. Further information about this work is available online:
"Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth:Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me - you did it to me'". Matt 25:40 The Message
Major Kathy Betteridge