Commonwealth Games 2014: UN Gift Boxes raise awareness of human trafficking
published on 23 Jul 2014
The Salvation Army is taking part in an anti-human trafficking campaign during the Commonwealth Games.
Members of the church and charity will be among a 160-strong team of Christian volunteers on the UN Gift Boxes in Glasgow city centre.
The large, walk-in boxes are intended to symbolise trafficking, with each one providing information and first-hand accounts and pictures from victims inside.
Managed by the charity More Than Gold, there will be four gift boxes, with one outside Glasgow Cathedral and three on Sauchiehall Street.
Each one highlights a specific aspect of human trafficking – forced labour, domestic servitude, forced street crime and begging, and sexual exploitation.
One volunteer on the boxes is Major Kathy Betteridge, The Salvation Army’s Mission Outreach and Support Officer for Edinburgh.
Kathy, who sits on the anti-human trafficking cross-party group at the Scottish Parliament, believes the campaign is a great way to raise awareness of human trafficking.
She said: “The boxes look attractive from the outside, which is the whole essence of the trafficking scenario, that somebody is lured into this false sense of expecting something to be great and wonderful. When people step inside the boxes they realise they’re suddenly in a situation where they’re trapped. This happens with men, women and children.”
Kathy also works with The Salvation Army’s street projects, helping prostitutes in Edinburgh and says a high percentage of them have been victims of trafficking.
She said: “Drugs are sold once, while the human body can be sold again and again and that’s what happens to the younger girls.
“They can be resold thousands of times for a lot of money.
“Men and women are also forced on to the streets to beg for money and if they don’t meet their quota they’re in fear of being tortured, being abused, in fear for their lives.
“You can pick out the beggars who are victims as they are just so scared and they will often refuse help.
“I’d ask people to enjoy the Games but take the time to learn a little more about this, and keep your eyes peeled.”
Find out more about More Than Gold