Over the past 4 years, Shambala’s ‘Flags For…’ campaigns have raised over £23,000 for incredible causes. This year, we’re raising funds for Unseen – a charity who do vital work in the fight against modern slavery and human trafficking.
This isn’t a cause that gets a large amount of media spotlight, but it’s a huge and urgent issue both here in the UK and around the world. The following stats make for harrowing reading:
- Today there are 24.9 million victims of forced labour, more than any other time in history.
- 1 in every 200 people in the world are currently enslaved.
- 1 in 4 victims of modern slavery are children.
- According to the National Crime Authority, in 2017, British nationals made up the highest proportion of modern slavery victims within the UK – an increase of nearly 100% vs the previous year.
Traffickers target the vulnerable - children, refugees, the homeless, people suffering from mental health conditions, addiction and poverty. They treat human beings like commodities, controlling them through threats, violence and rape to earn vast amounts of money from them. Slavery happens in plain sight, even within legitimate businesses as the demand for fast, cheap products and services drives down prices and profit margins. Many of us are becoming more conscious of the environmental impact of our purchases, but we need to ask who makes our clothes, our smartphones, picks our vegetables or paints our nails? We often think that local means ethical, without considering that workers in our own communities could also be exploited…
Unseen runs safehouses for both women and men as well as providing ongoing support to survivors living in the community. They also operate the national Modern Slavery Helpline, which offers independent advice 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to those who need support to leave their exploitation.
By working closely with victims and survivors, Unseen gain insight into tactics used by traffickers. This helps them to understand how to best disrupt slavery, and so they work with businesses, governments and agencies like the police and NHS to create strategies that identify victims, bring them to places of safety and prevent more vulnerable people from being trafficked.
Tania was a victim of slavery for 20 years. She worked on British farms, picking our vegetables.
"They treat us like we are animals. Pay just 30 pence per day. When the bosses get drunk, they abuse people for fun, break your body. When I know they’re drunk I sleep outside, in the bushes, where they can’t find me. They tell me I broken visa rules and if I leave, I go in the prison for 15 years. I start think that I am not human, and I think “I am nobody, I am nobody”.
Eventually Tania decided that prison would be better than the abuse she suffered day in day out and handed herself in. Police identified her as a victim of modern slavery, and she was referred to Unseen’s safehouse.
“It’s first time that you trust somebody because you feel safe. These people in the safehouse they always support you, they take you out from this dark fog. . They tell you you are also important person. These people, all my life they will live in my heart, such a huge love what they present to me. They give us hope, they give us life, they give us chance to feel human again.”
HOW YOU CAN HELP SURVIVORS LIKE TANIA...
We are asking you, the great people of Shambala, to sponsor a survivor of slavery in Unseen’s safehouse.
- £6 will pay for an international call to a survivor’s family abroad, enabling a survivor to let their loved ones know that they are safe from harm.
- £13 will provide a survivor at an Unseen safehouse with warm nourishing food for a week, to give them strength and comfort as they begin their journey of recovery.
- £19 will pay for a career and education session to help a survivor become job-ready after leaving our safehouse.
- £40 will pay for a trauma counselling session for a victim of trafficking so they can begin to come to terms with what they've been through.
- £60 will pay for 3 mindful photography workshops for a survivor at a safehouse. A therapeutic activity, photography allows survivors to express themselves creatively, builds their self-esteem and provides escapism from daily trauma.
HOW FLAGS FOR THE UNSEEN WORKS...
For every donation received, Shambala will fly a string of prayer flags on the Shambala Stage. This will create a striking and beautiful symbol of our support and prayers for those who have had their lives devastated through slavery:
- If you donate £6 or more before August 3rd 2019, you will be entered into a PRIZE DRAW to win one adult ticket to this year's sold out Shambala Festival.
- If you donate £13 or more before August 3rd 2019, you will be entered into a separate PRIZE DRAW to win two adult tickets to this year’s sold out Shambala Festival.
- We will contact the winners of both prizes via email on August 4th 2019.
- 100% of your sponsorship money will go directly to Unseen
- Shambala Festival will cover all the costs of buying, transporting and flying the flags – as well as donating £1,000 to the campaign.
- You do not need to be attending Shambala Festival to contribute to this campaign.
Please dig deep, Shambala - together we can change lives!
If you think someone may be a victim of modern slavery, please call the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700.