Purple Teardrop Presentation Evening
120 professionals from health, education, police and social / welfare services, along with local and County Councillors and members of service organisations attended an evening presentation event ‘Sex Trafficking in the Community’ given by Cannock Soroptimists.
President Pam McGauley welcomed everyone and club members Carolyn Dyer, Ann Rotchell and Trish Mellor gave the presentation, which came at the end of a twelve month campaign to raise awareness of the issue.
The campaign is part of Soroptimists’ work to improve the lives and status of women and girls through education and empowerment or enabling opportunities within the objective to eliminate violence against women and girls. The evening itself was held as a result of requests from many whom club members had talked or worked with to have the opportunity to meet with others working with victims of trafficking and sexual exploitation and to view the DVD ‘My Dangerous Loverboy’.
Trish Mellor explained that the club had based their campaign on Purple Teardrop, a national charity formed by SI Poole in 2008 – www.purpleteardrop.org – which aims to ‘Stop the trafficking, Stop the tears’.
Ann Rotchell gave a resume of the club’s work over the last year: over 4,000 leaflets distributed, hundreds of posters displayed, local taxi cabs taking the information and presentations to groups of students at South Staffs College.
Carolyn Dyer, a midwife in the community for 37 years quoted Thomas Barnardo writing on child prostitution in 1889: “The very saddest of all child rescue cases which come into my hands are concerned with the saving of young girls, from conditions of very grave, often imminent peril: and yet alas there are by no means few in number.”
She went on to say that her midwifery team years ago had been aware that some girls they came into contact with were victims of trafficking – though that wasn’t the term used then – but now there is support available which was not available then, particularly through the government’s document PRACTICE GUIDENCE – SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN WHO MAY HAVE BEEN TRAFFICKED.
The DVD was introduced. “My Dangerous Loverboy” was commissioned by the UK Human Trafficking Agency with its partners, including SOCA, the Serious Organised Crime Agency, and was launched in September 2010. It is for use by professionals with youngsters in Key Stage 4 and is a very powerful film which many professionals present now intend to use within their education programmes. It is a film which must be used sensitively, with appropriate preparation, follow-up and safeguarding structures in place.
SI Cannock’s Programme Action team. From left to right: Ann Rotchell, Carolyn Dyer, Trish Mellor
An opportunity for networking was provided and this had many positive outcomes with links being made for future collaborative working.
Another outcome of the evening was that Cannock Soroptimists were invited to speak to other groups and so raise awareness of the issue of trafficking to an even wider audience. The club was asked to keep attendees informed of future events and developments, the first of which will be a report detailing the responses from the evening.
Trafficking is present in many areas of the UK. It is not limited to borders or to inner cities. International events such as the Olympics bring with them trafficking and prostitution; Cannock Chase area is, unfortunately, geographically well placed for trafficking, being close to both the M6 and M6 Toll junctions.
Young people need to be made aware of the issue in the hope that they will not become victims. Cannock Soroptimists will continue to work to fulfill this need.
Cannock Soroptimists Ann Rotchell, Carolyn Dyer, President Pam McGauley, Trish Mellor