Friday, 21 August 2015

Street Drama

This week we have been involved in a series of street dramas to raise awareness of human trafficking.

The joint initiative, organised by The Salvation Army’s Scotland Office and the Scottish Churches Anti-Human Trafficking Group, took place during the Edinburgh Festival's Just Festival – and sees market stalls in different locations around the city selling ‘people’ as commodities – based on real life stories of human trafficking victims.

Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Roberts, The Salvation Army’s Assistant to the Secretary for Scotland, said: "Human trafficking is taking place all around us; in our local communities and perhaps around the corner from where we live. We want people to know they can play a role in stamping it out.

"The Salvation Army has a long history of supporting victims of human trafficking and pressing for their legal protection. In England and Wales we have provided support services to more than 2000 adult victims of human trafficking in the past four years.”

The street drama is the idea of Keith Turton, The Salvation Army’s drama co-ordinator. Keith said: "We think of slavery as people being chained up and in ropes. That may have been the case hundreds of years ago but nowadays it’s much less obvious to the casual observer.

"And so the idea is to have a market stall where we will pretend to sell human beings. We will have a rail of clothing that depicts the work that people do. You can dress these people up to show how they are seen as just commodities.

“It’s a dramatic way of highlighting the issue of trafficking and it’s a way of saying: ‘people shouldn’t be bought or sold.’”

Hazel Watson, Convener of the Scottish Churches Anti-Human Trafficking Group, added: “All human beings have intrinsic value and have the right to live with dignity in freedom. This drama, shocking as it is itself, is a way of highlighting the reality of human trafficking that is far more shocking. We can all play our part in efforts to combat this horrendous crime.”

The Salvation Army, along with the Scottish Churches Anti-Human Trafficking Group, has contributed to the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Bill, which is currently going through the Scottish Parliament. The Bill will create a specific offence of human trafficking for the first time as well as increase the maximum penalty for offenders to life imprisonment.

Lt-Col Roberts added: “The Salvation Army welcomes this new legislation being introduced by the Scottish Government because it aims to keep victims central, both by tackling offenders and supporting victims.”

The Scottish Churches Anti-Human Trafficking Group will also be using the UN Gift Box initiative to raise awareness of human trafficking. The initiative is created by Stop The Traffik and the United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Trafficking (UN GIFT). Two large, walk-in boxes have been created to symbolise trafficking and will be dotted around Edinburgh to provide information and first-hand accounts and pictures from victims inside. Each box highlights a specific aspect of human trafficking – be it forced labour or sexual exploitation.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Seeking Justice where you are

Two new publications by Salvationist authors highlight the importance of seeking justice in local situations through community organising.

Marching Towards Justice: Community Organising and The Salvation Army

This is a good introduction to community organising by Majors Kerry & Nick Coke and Lieutenants John & Naomi Clifton. It is based on their own experiences in Stepney and Ilford. It is a 48-page booklet divided into three sections:

1. History. Examples of TSA's justice-seeking activities in the past.
2. Methodology. An outline of the four steps for community organising: visitation, power analysis, training & development, and public action.
3. Stories. Examples of community organising by TSA in Ilford, Stepney and Camberwell.

The document can be downloaded free here:
There is also a blog associated with it:

Just Mission: Practical Politics for Local Churches

This is written by Dr Helen Cameron, Head of Public Affairs at THQ. It goes deeper and wider than Marching Towards Justice and is a helpful handbook for anyone wishing to address social justice issues in their community. It emphasises that justice-seeking goes alongside evangelism and social action in the mission of God. It outlines eight steps in the process of justice-seeking and includes helpful case studies.

1. What is the burning issue?
2. Building the team
3. Building the case for change
4. Engaging with the Christian tradition
5. Identifying who you need to speak to and what you will ask
6. Making contact
7. Amplifying your voice
8. Evaluating your impact

It is not free - it costs £19.99 - but is a good investment!