On Saturday Aberdeen residents took part in a march to raise awareness about modern-day slavery and human trafficking.
On Saturday 19th October, A21, the global organisation devoted to end slavery around the world held the Walk for Freedom March in Aberdeen city. People of all ages gathered dressed in black and started walking silently along the streets.
They dressed black because people held captive live in darkness and walked for those who cannot.
The A21 volunteers gathered in the morning in Marischal Square with signs, flyers and flags to distribute to the public. Passersby were given the opportunity to sign up to the event and march alongside them.
This was the third march of its kind being held in Aberdeen. This year, A21 partnered with Just Love, a Christian group operating between the Robert Gordon University and the University of Aberdeen.
Student Ellen Callaggham, volunteer from Just Love said: “We are marching against human trafficking and modern-day slavery to raise funds for our charity but really to raise awareness because the biggest problem is that no one is realising it is happening in Britain, right on our doorstep, everybody believes it’s a foreign problem."
Rebecca, another university student, said she was also marching because: “a lot of people don’t believe it is happening even in Aberdeen and it is important for people to realise that.”
It is estimated a person is trafficked every 30 seconds and 136,000 people are believed to be currently enslaved in Britain. Graeme Moore, A21 main organiser of the event said scaling the numbers to Aberdeen, 420 people in the city are or were enslaved.
Mr Moore said: “Great Britain abolished slavery almost 200 years ago and yet it is still taking place.”
He said: “This isn’t an issue that is on the other side of the planet. This isn’t an issue you can close your eyes on. This is an issue happening in our city and it needs to stop.”
He added that is very important for people on a local level to engage with the charities and events like the Walk for Freedom as “it does make a difference”.
During the march volunteers distributed flyers explaining how to identify a potential victim of modern-day-slavery. Usually, victims are controlled by another person managing their movements. They lack any kind of earning and identification. They also manifest overly fearful, depressed and submissive behaviour.
Anyone suspecting a case of human trafficking is encouraged to report it by contacting the Modern Slavery Helpline at 08000 121 700.