by STACEY HEANEY
Amy Lewis, Paul Jeffrey, Jonni Davidson and Becca Watson petitioning against Human Trafficking in Bow Street for Hope For Justice- US3O1O-107A0
A GROUP of students has been taking to Lisburn's streets over the coming weeks to raise awareness of human trafficking.
As the London Olympics 2012 fast approach, a number of organisations are attempting to make MPs aware that historically major sporting events attract an influx in human trafficking.
The students' who are involved with the organisation Hope For Justice through their ACTFORJUSTICE groups' are hoping to encourage local people to write to local MP Jeffrey Donaldson' and they will also be asking people to sign a petition, which they will then forward to the MP, in order to bring to this to his attention.
Human trafficking is defined as the sale' transport and profit from people who are forced to work for others against their will and' according to UNICEF, there are 27 million people in slavery today across the world' whilst children as young as three are brought into the UK for sex, drugs and domestic servitude.
Raising awareness and not money is the aim of the group' organised by Paul Jeffrey' a Theology student at Queen's. Paul will be joined by Jonni Davidson' a fellow student at Queens who is from Lisburn' Amy Lewis and Rebecca Watson.
Speaking about their campaign, Paul said: "I first learnt about Hope For
Justice through a friend from England who is on the same course as me. I
have gotten really passionate
about the cause.
"People don't realise that human trafficking is so widespread and that it even stretches to our own doorstep' I thought I would do the best I could in my own small way to help.
"Lisburn is a great place to talk to people and raise awareness as people are more willing to listen; it's the perfect place for getting the message out there."
The group will be busking at various locations across the city' including outside The Body Shop in Bow Street, which has put their posters in their windows as the store is currently running its own campaign with ECPAT against human trafficking. Paul commented: "It was fitting that The Body Shop allow us to busk there as they are running their own campaign on human trafficking.
"They were kind enough to help and local Churches have allowed us to put our information on their notice boards."
Whilst the group are attempting to raise awareness' Paul said that donations for Hope For Justice would be welcomed.
He said: "We do collect funds and all donations are very welcome, but that wouldn't be our primary aim.
"We are asking people to write to their MP and raise as much awareness for the Olympics coming to London. It is events such as this that traffickers target.
"We would like the people of Lisburn to write to Mr Donaldson.
"We know not everyone is going to have the time to sit down and write a letter' but we will also have a petition get as many signatures as we can and send them off to each MP" he concluded.