Midlands Soroptimists Stop the Trafficking!

Midland Chase SoroptimistsAlmost 100 Soroptimists wore purple and walked through Lichfield City Centre last Saturday!  The Soroptimists were from the 13 clubs within Midland Chase Region and they were led in their walk by Region President Dishi Attwood, a member of SI Lichfield.  The walk was part of their continuing work of raising awareness of the issue of Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation.

Cards and leaflets were given to members of the public – who showed a huge interest in what was happening, many joining in the walk to Speakers Corner by Minster Pool to find out more. At Speakers Corner a member of the Cannock club addressed the crowd, explaining that trafficking isn’t just about people – mostly women and girls – being moved from one country to another against their will – but affects women and girls being trafficked from one town to another, one street to another and is happening in many of our towns, right now.  It can be known as internal trafficking or street grooming.

Soroptimists walking to raise awareness of traffickingEveryone was urged to look out for signs – a run down house or flat, where the curtains are drawn during the day and there may be a frequent change of people living there; a woman or girl who appears unusually unhappy, withdrawn or frightened; young people being bought food, drinks, gifts by older adults whom they may see as a boyfriend or girlfriend. They were also encouraged to speak to their daughters and sons, to their friends, to make them aware of this issue and how young people can be coerced into a situation which they find difficult to get out of – but to make sure that these young people know that they can talk to them or to people working in support organisations.

Everyone was asked to report any concern, no matter how small, either to the localpolice or to report on the Crimestoppers number – 0800 555 111 – where information can be given anonymously.

The event was held on 9th march to mark International Women’s Day and all Soroptimists hope that as a result of this walk, more people will know about the issue of internal trafficking and more of our women and young girls in particular can be kept safe.

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