IOM Campaign Urges UK Consumers to Buy Responsibly to Help End Human Trafficking
Eliminating the demand for trafficked and exploited labour is
critical if efforts to end human trafficking are to be successful,
says the International Organization for Migration (IOM) ahead of
Anti-Slavery Day in the UK.
Launching its "Buy Responsibly" campaign in London on 18 October
2011 ( "http://www.buyresponsibly.org/" target="_blank" title=
"">http://www.buyresponsibly.org/), IOM is urging consumers in
particular to play a greater role in ending human trafficking in
the UK and across the world.
Encouraging the public to question "What's Behind the Things We
Buy?" the campaign, designed together with Saatchi & Saatchi in
Geneva, hopes to mobilise consumer power in dramatically changing
consumer habits in the UK.
target="_blank" title="">Buy Responsibly TV spot
"_blank" title="">(Letter box format)
"For too long the belief has been that to prevent human
trafficking, we should focus on would-be migrants in their
countries of origin. But in reality, these efforts have not proved
very effective," says IOM Director General William Lacy Swing.
"Quite simply, human trafficking is driven by the demand for
unreasonably cheap labour and goods across the world, including in
the UK. We have to tackle the demand side of this crime as
Estimates put the number of people in forced or bonded labour
and sexual servitude in the world at 12.3 million at any given
time. Although public focus has largely been on the issue of
trafficking of women and girls for sexual exploitation, greater
incidences are emerging of trafficking for labour exploitation
involving all ages and both sexes.
Despite best efforts by all those involved in countering human
trafficking, indications are that it is at least as widespread
today as it was ten years ago.
In the UK, there is a slow but growing realisation that slavery
is present in the UK itself and not limited to distant shores.
"A change in mindset and practices among consumers and
businesses needs to occur," Swing adds. "Consumers in the UK who
are increasingly demanding fair trade have the power to end labour
exploitation by buying responsibly and getting businesses to
rethink how they operate. It's also in the interest of business to
ensure that supply chains are free of trafficked or exploited
labour," says Swing.
The IOM campaign, part of a global effort to address the demand
side of human trafficking for labour exploitation, has already been
launched in Belgium, Switzerland, Austria and the Netherlands.
For the UK launch on 18 October, IOM and NGOs, including the
Human Trafficking Foundation, Anti-Slavery International,
Barnardo's and Stop the Traffik, will be in Trafalgar Square, in
the heart of London.
A 5x4 metre upside-down giant shopping trolley imprisoning
people representing trafficked migrant workers, an image of the
campaign, will be on site in Trafalgar Square. The public will be
encouraged to stop and ask what it can practically do to make a
The Buy Responsibly launch is one of the many awareness raising
events being held in London and across the UK by NGOs as part of
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