Human trafficking film to be screened at Tobacco Factory for Anti-Slavery Day
Bristol will tomorrow join dozens of cities across the country in a fight to tackle human trafficking, by screening a revealing film at the Tobacco Factory Theatre.
Designed to raise awareness of the crime, which sees 800,000 people – children, men and women - trafficked every year, ‘Stolen’ will be shown at 7pm.
The film follows Detective Inspector Anthony Carter, who works in the Human Trafficking Unit, and three children, and shows the work done to help exploited youngsters being smuggled from and into the UK.
The screening will be followed by a question and answer session with Graham Sims, strategic director of Bristol City Council’s Neighbourhoods & City Development; Ella Remes, children’s services manager at Barnardo’s, and Dave Grimstead, Detective Inspector overseeing Public Protection at Avon & Somerset Police.
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The screening is one of dozens of events being held nationwide as part of Anti-Slavery Day.
The day, held each year on October 18, is aimed at raising awareness of the modern day slave trade – that is, child trafficking, forced labour, domestic servitude and trafficking for sexual exploitation.
According to the Human Trafficking Foundation, “there are more people in slavery today than in the entire 350 year history of the slave trade and 1 in 8 of those is in Europe.”
Anti-Slavery Day organisers hope it will put pressure on government, local authorities and public institutions to address the scale and scope of human trafficking.
The event is the brainchild of former Totnes MP Anthony Steen, who tabled a Private Members’ Bill about the issue in 2010.
Talking to This is Bristol, Mr Steen said: “There are without doubt dozens of men and women and children trafficked in Bristol.
“When I was an MP for Totnes I received a call to say a trafficked girl was in my constituency.
“She had been flown in to Bristol Airport from the Czech Republic, and told there was a five star hotel in Paignton – which there wasn’t – where she would be in charge of managing gymnasts. But she was instead put in a brothel”.
Mr Steen, whose Anti-Slavery Day Bill passed through both Houses unopposed, although amended, explained the victim managed to escape by fleeing to a nearby club and raising the alarm. But, he added, thousands of others across the country are not so fortunate.
“You would think everyone would go out of their way to find out where trafficked people are, but they don’t,” he said.
“Police won’t talk about it because they probably don’t think it’s a priority, social workers won’t disclose their victims because of confidentiality, lawyers can’t tell you who they are working with - so all the professionals who could be helping lift the lid are helping keep it hidden.”
On its website, Bristol City Council says: “Little is known about the actual scale of human trafficking in Bristol. After the illegal drugs trade it is the second-largest international illegal trade in value terms.
“All agencies believe Bristol to be a regional if not national centre. There are various guesses about scale in Bristol. A recent figure suggested by the Metropolitan Police is that in Bristol there could be up to 75 houses where women and men are traded for sex.
“There are also various stories about forced labour (non-sex trade) and child trafficking.
“It is of course impossible to confirm for definite the number of fellow human beings who are being trafficked into virtual modern day slavery in Bristol but we feel we have a moral and statutory to combating it.”
More detailed figures are available regarding those being trafficked into the EU. Some 76 per cent of victims are trafficked for sexual exploitation, Eurostat finds, and 70 per cent of victims are women.
Some 17 per cent are men, 11 per cent girls and two per cent boys.
Human trafficking is the second-biggest source of illicit profits after the drugs trade, the European Commission says, with traffickers making $32 billion in profits annually.
The documentary being screened tomorrow at the Tobacco Factory Theatre is designed to empower Bristolians with the knowledge needed to tackle the issue.
Informing the public about the crime is vital if it is to be stamped out, Mr Steen said. “You need awareness. People have to know there’s a brothel around the corner, they have got to know there are men in the fields on debt bondage.”
Films about modern day slavery will also be screened in Bath, Gloucester, Loughborough and Leeds. Meanwhile conferences, child trafficking training days and concerts will be held in cities including Nottingham, Croydon and Leicester.
To find out more about Anti-Slavery Day, visit www.antislaveryday.com.