A BLOG POST BY BARONESS GOUDIE Baroness Mary Goudie yesterday joined four-time Olympic gold medal-winning rower Sir Matthew Pinsent to help ECPAT UK mark Anti-Slavery Day 2011 with an event on the Thames in London.
Baroness Goudie and Matthew Pinsent, along with other parliamentarians, attended the launch of ECPAT UK’s latest report, Watch over me, in conjunction with Row for Freedom – a team of six female rowers who aim to cross the Atlantic this winter to raise awareness of human trafficking.
The report outlines ECPAT UK’s belief that child victims of trafficking require the support of an independent and dedicated guardian to represent their best interests and ensure that they receive the educational, medical, practical and legal support they need to help rebuild their lives. The Government’s current arrangements for these children fall well short of this.
Prior to launching the report, ECPAT UK sent a letter to Tim Loughton MP, Minister for Children, to urge the Government to rethink its opposition to guardianship. The letter was signed by other 27 organisations, including UNICEF UK, Barnardo’s, NSPCC, Amnesty International UK and the Children’s Commissioners for England, Scotland and Wales.
On Anti-Slavery Day, parliamentarians and other guests boarded a passenger boat in Westminster and headed up the Thames in glorious sunshine and were able to watch the Row for Freedom boat in action as it was rowed alongside. After mooring at Westminster Boating Base, Matthew Pinsent then officially named the Row for Freedom boat The Guardian to echo ECPAT UK’s call for the Government to introduce a system of guardianship for child victims of trafficking. ECPAT UK then launched its report during a lunch reception.
Baroness Goudie said: “I was heartened to hear about the excellent work that ECPAT UK are continuing to do to highlight the plight of child victims of trafficking in the UK; and about the epic journey across the Atlantic that the Row for Freedom team are undertaking to raise awareness of this campaign. The Government must now take heed of the widespread support for guardianship and introduce such a system to safeguard child victims of trafficking in the UK.”
Christine Beddoe, director of ECPAT UK, said: “Our event to mark Anti-Slavery Day was an opportunity to highlight the urgent need for support for child victims of trafficking. ECPAT UK works tirelessly to campaign against the trafficking of children. We believe that a system of guardianship would mean that every child victim of trafficking would have someone who they could trust and who would act in their best interest. We very much appreciate Baroness Goudie’s continuing support for our guardianship campaign.”
Press contact: Christine Beddoe, Director, ECPAT UK Tel: 020 7233 9887 or 07906 341889
Information for editors:
- ECPAT UK (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes) is a leading UK children’s rights organisation. ECPAT UK works with the highest levels of government, but also reaches out to practitioners and those working directly with children through research, training and capacity building. ECPAT UK’s registered charity number is 1104948.
- According to official figures from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre’s (CEOP) Child Trafficking Update October 2011, 202 children have been identified as trafficked into and within the UK over the period from 1 January 2011 to 15 September 2011. This figure includes referrals made to the National Referral Mechanism and referrals received by the Child Trafficking Advice and Information Line (CTAIL), operated by the NSPCC.
- Row for Freedom plans to be the first female crew of six to row 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean unaided. They plan to take 35-45 days, breaking the current world record, rowing from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to Barbados as part of the Woodvale Challenge race. The route taken will be similar to that of Christopher Columbus when he discovered America in 1492. This route was also used to transport millions of slaves to the US in the 1800s. More people have gone into space or climbed Everest than have rowed an ocean. ECPAT UK’s Youth Programme Coordinator, Debbie Beadle, is one of the six women in Row for Freedom team.
- More information at www.ecpat.org.uk. Download ECPAT UK’s Watch over me report here: http://www.ecpat.org.uk/sites/default/files/watch_over_me.pdf
For more information on Row for Freedom: http://www.ecpat.org.uk/content/support-ecpat-uk-row-freedom
To donate to ECPAT UK through Row for Freedom: http://www.justgiving.com/rowforfreedom