A group of volunteers from the North West area are calling for the elimination of slavery both locally and internationally as campaigners worldwide rally for Anti-Slavery Week.
North West ACT Stop the Traffik is calling for people to be vigilant for signs of forced labour or slavery locally, whilst also taking action to boycott the produce of sweat shops around the world.
A spokesperson explained: “Over the past two years figures show an increase in the amount of Human Trafficking in Northern Ireland through the sex trade and forced labour and child trafficking, 38 potential victims were rescued in 2013/2014 but due to the hidden nature of trafficking, this figure is just the tip of the iceberg.
“Globally, human trafficking is a huge problem; it is estimated that there are 27 million people in slavery today, making the clothes we wear, the food we buy and the technological items we use.”
The group points out that in the Tamil Nadu area of India there are over 200,000 young women and girls trafficked into the cotton industry, which supplies cotton contained in some of the clothes worn in Europe.
The spokesperson added: “Whilst this issue can become overwhelming and hard to connect with, we believe that by working together trafficking can be eliminated.
“That why this Anti-Slavery day we’re asking people to think about the person/people who made your clothes, and to join someone else in the conversation.
“The more we raise awareness of trafficking, the more people will act and the more that people act, the more that things will change.
“We know that forced labour has been used in the production of many of our goods including food, clothes and phones etc. Therefore we wanted to use Anti-Slavery Day (October 18) as a chance to ask the people of Derry to consider who made their clothes and think of the everyday actions people can take to ensure their products are ‘Traffik Free’ and ‘Slavery free.’
“This can be done by choosing fair trade products or writing to a company asking them how they source slavery free goods, or asking local MLAs what they are doing to support local business to become more ethical.”