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Run for Love 1000: Make communities hostile for traffickers

More and more people are getting involved with the fight to raise awareness about human trafficking in our communities.

Run for Love 1000 is a campaign to give care and support to victims of trafficking gangs.

The project involves a 1,000 mile run from Odessa to Dubrovnik an April 2013. I offered the team some words of support...

key_childrailings.pngWhenever I say: "It's happening in your community," I see the raised eyebrows.

I am a Euro MP representing the South East of England. Surely the region is a world away from the horror of human trafficking?

But the doubters are seeing the bubble burst. It is happening. Along leafy suburban streets, quiet cul-de-sacs, in sedate country backwaters.

Human beings are being bought and sold and business is booming.

Modern day slavery means men, women and children are being hawked for sexual exploitation, forced begging and domestic servitude.

Customers and victims are not confined to backstreets in third world countries.

Like all business, the gangmasters who profit go to great lengths to make sure their cargo get to places where demand is highest.

I have raised the issue of a spike in trafficking around large sport events, such as the Olympic Games and Euro 2012 football championships.

It wasn't a popular thing to say. Then again, I'm not surprised, it's not something people wanted to hear.

Meanwhile, I have worked with airlines, police forces and community groups to help raise awareness of the problem.

The message is clear: Open Your Eyes. We need to be alert to the signs.

But if it is happening in our communities, then it can be tackled by our communities. It is vital we create a hostile environment for traffickers.

Run for Love 1000 is helping people open their eyes by staging an arduous physical challenge.

Row for Freedom saw five women make it across the Atlantic to put trafficking in the spotlight. It had an enormous impact.

I'm sure Run for Love 1000 can do the same.

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