Modern slavery challenged at two Winchester church events

Winchester churches have run two events this week to focus attention on trafficking, modern slavery and the support available to trafficked people in Hampshire.

On Wednesday [7 February], Winchester Vineyard played host to the True Cost Clothes Swap. Over  80 women watched True Cost, a film which shone light onto the appalling working conditions of the many enslaved workers who make the clothes we wear. It also illustrated the impact of unregulated production on health and the environment. The sale of second hand clothes which followed allowed for guilt-free shopping and raised £600  for International Justice Mission, which works to prove justice for the poor is possible.

Two females holding leaflets

Jess Gealer and Julie Shanley from the Medaille Trust

On Friday [9 February] St Peter’s Parish Covenant with the Poor invited Julie Shanley and Jess Gealer from the Medaille Trust to address an audience at St Peter’s Catholic Church on Jewry Street about the charity’s work with trafficked women in Britain.  St Peter’s are looking to raise at least £3,000 to create a one:one counselling room at one of the Southern region safe houses.

The charity’s two houses in the Southern region have space for nine women and their babies and face constant demand. Most of the women originate from Albania, Vietnam, China and Nigeria and many are trafficked illegally through the ports of Portsmouth and Southampton.

The trust protects the women and assists with their interviews with the Home Office and rehabilitation. It operates nine homes throughout Britain and works with a local project in Albania to combat unrealistic expectations of life in the UK and cut off the flow of women at its source.

Debbie Dymott, Champion for Anti-trafficking & Slavery from Churches Together in Winchester said,

“With the two large ports of  Portsmouth and Southampton and the many smaller harbours, along the south coast, traffickers are able to easily bring their victims into the UK.    Julie outlined the difficulties for all concerned in the recovery and rehabilitation process, she also shared the success stories and thank-you notes of those they had helped.  Julie and Jess spoke about the extent to which they help the residents and their dedication was very apparent. Volunteer help is always needed with cooking, sewing, shopping etc.  The immediate needs are for local interpreters, volunteers to help on the allotment which provides food for the residents and around £3,000 to create a much needed one:one counselling room.”

For more information on ethical clothes, visit www.ethicalfashionforum.com and for anti-trafficking visit www.medaille-trust.org.uk or contact Debbie Dymott on atsg@winvin.org.uk

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