15th October 2018

Hampshire Federation of W.I.

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Meeting 4th October 2018

Our talk this month, entitled ‘Modern Slavery & Human Trafficking’ was given by newly published author Helen Matthews.

Shockingly it is estimated that over 45 million people are victims of these atrocious acts. This highly illegal trade of forced labour adds over U.S. $150 billion to the private economy each year, so a very lucrative trade indeed.

Helen has researched thoroughly before writing her first novel ‘After leaving the village’ which tells the story of an Albanian girl coerced into the sex slave trade.

She spent time in Albania talking to families as this is the country from which most people are trafficked to the U.K.. The lack of prospects encourages youngsters to look abroad for work and training to better themselves. They become vulnerable without a family network and are often easy prey for people who pretend they want to help them.

Often people have paid to be transported to a different country and told they must work to repay their fare. They are then enslaved to these dreadful people and work without ever managing to repay their ‘debt’.

Helen is an ambassador for the charity,’Unseen’, which investigates, rescues and supports victims of these terrible crimes. She says we must all take responsibility for noticing what is going on around us. Make a point of getting to know your neighbours and work colleagues. Do they always look tired, keep themselves isolated from others? Do they look hungry, unkempt, not wearing appropriate clothing, or safety wear for their work? Do they seem afraid? Reach out to them; remember under the Modern Slavery act of 2015 it is ILLEGAL as well as totally inhumane for people to be enslaved!

A very interesting and somewhat shocking topic was discussed at length and hopefully we will all be more aware of what is happening around us.

Helen was warmly thanked for her talk, after which we all enjoyed tea & biscuits.

Helens book ‘After leaving the village’ is published by Hashtag press, ISBN 9780995780682, price £7.99, a donation to the charity is made from the sale of every book sold. Unseen Registered charity number 1127620 www.unseenuk.org. Please look at the website for more information.

Our next meeting is Thursday 1st November 2.30pm at the RBL Village hall and we welcome all ladies for a make-up demonstration.

Diane Knight

[Please note that this message is not posted on behalf of Bentworth Parish Council and does not necessarily reflect the Parish Council’s policy]

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