Emma Hancox: The End to Human Trafficking?

Emma Hancox, president of UoN’s Stop the Traffik Society, gives Her Campus an inside look at the horrors of human trafficking, and lets us know what can be done to make your voice heard for the others who are silenced. STOP_THE_TRAFFIK_Logo_Black_with_Hand.png

Hometown: Halesowen (near Birmingham)

Course: English Language and Literature

What pushed you to get involved with Stop the Traffik?

I knew I wanted to get involved in a charity at university, and when I spoke to members of Stop the Traffik I couldn’t believe how huge the crime was and yet how little people knew about it. I wanted to spark the same motivation in other people to raise the awareness that will inevitably make it easier to tackle trafficking.

Why is important to be aware of human trafficking? Whilst we don’t know exact numbers, it is estimated that 21 million people are trafficked across the world, and over 20,000 people are trafficked into and throughout the UK every year. A crime this large, affecting men, women and children, is something everybody needs to care about in order for it to stop. Even knowing the signs of trafficking and being aware that the crime exists in your own community could make a difference.

How do they help?

Stop the Traffik trains professionals to tackle the crime on the front line, in order to get victims out of trafficked situations and into safety. They also provide help and support for the victims after they escape, to enable them to function happily again in society.  They also train everyone to know how to spot the signs of trafficking, how to respond to it, and who to contact. They work with other charities and organisations in order to maximise their work - collaboration is something our society also considers very important. Perhaps the charity’s biggest aim is simply to get the word out there, giving workshops to schools, faith groups, businesses, other charities and so on in order to raise community awareness about trafficking.

Where does human trafficking happen?

Human trafficking happens all over the world – including on our doorstep. Trafficking is such a global issue, because traffickers often move people across transnational borders. Human trafficking is difficult to track due to the hidden nature of the crime; not many people talk about it and the media don’t cover it all that much. This is exactly why we want to raise awareness of the magnitude of trafficking across the world; without the necessary and deserved attention, facts and figures enabling us to combat the crime are difficult to gather.

What work have you done?

In past years we have hosted a Clothes Swap in which people swap their old clothes for new ones; this aims to raise awareness of trafficking in the clothing industry, and encourages people to buy clothes second hand, without supporting clothing lines that involve trafficked labour somewhere in the production line. We’ve also attended Stop The Traffik’s annual conference in London, where the founder led us through the charity’s newest ideas, and we celebrated successes throughout the year, as well as being given workshops on how to go about making a difference in our various groups across the country.

How can I help?

People can get involved by coming along to any of our events or fundraisers to help out, or just join in, and we’d also love for anyone with ideas to share them with us, as we’re looking for new ways to raise awareness all the time. If you’re part of another club or society – we’d love to collaborate. I’d also encourage people to keep up with the fight against human trafficking in the news.

Edited by Jess Shelton