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Viewpoint from Helen Farman 27/05/11

Helen Farman
part of leadership team at Light of Life Baptist Church, Ormesby St Margaret
Dove right 
Do you have money which is yours to spend? Did you go to school? Have you eaten seven meals in the past week? Have you ever been ill and been seen by a doctor? Are you wearing clothes that you chose for yourself? Finally, have you done something today that you chose to do without anyone else telling you to do it? You are probably thinking what ridiculous questions these are. But throughout the world there are millions who would have to say ‘no’ to all those questions. They are not free. Their lives are controlled by others and they have nothing they can call their own
 
STOP THE TRAFFIK is a worldwide campaign with one goal – to demand freedom for every human being caught in trafficking around the world. So what is trafficking? It is to be taken against your will, bought, sold and transported into slavery, often by family members. But for what?
dove left 
Sexual exploitation, sweat shops, child brides, circuses, sacrificial worship, forced begging, sale of human organs, farm labouring and domestic servitude. 80% of all victims are women and girls; 50% are children. Human trafficking is the fastest form of modern day slavery. More than one person is trafficked across borders every minute. How many minutes have you spent reading the newspaper so far?
 
Many people are tricked through poverty and desperation; they are easy prey to traffickers, vulnerable to their false promises
 
The men here in Britain, who will pay to have sex with foreign women and underage girls, create the market which traffickers supply. Similarly, desire for cheap labour to clean our houses and hotels, to work on our construction sites and to produce cheap food creates another market for traffickers to supply. fair trade logoWhat can we do? There are no simple answers but Fairtrade is one powerful key to unlocking the chains that hold many people in poverty. It’s about giving hope and a ‘voice’ to the poor and marginalized
 
Nearly half the world’s chocolate comes from cocoa grown on the Cote d’Ivoire, West Africa. In 2005 it was estimated that 12,000 had been trafficked to work on cocoa plantations there. They had been tricked into believing that they were being given an opportunity to start a wonderful new life. Quote from Cote d’Ivoire – “I will tell you how I lost my arm. I tried to escape but I could not. They caught me and tied me to a papaya tree and they beat me and broke my arm. From here my life was ruined.” Some chocolate we buy has the Fairtrade mark, some does not. Fairtrade seeks to guarantee that no child was trafficked to bring you that chocolate. Fairtrade is about fighting exploitation, greed, injustice, unfairness and oppression. Interestingly enough, you will find the writings of the Old Testament prophets littered with these words. Isaiah says that God want us to ‘loose the chains of injustice... set the oppressed free...’ then ‘his favour will shine on us like the morning sun and our wounds will be quickly healed’. That is an amazing thought!