Posts Tagged ‘Human Trafficking Foundation’

Author: Ben Kaye - Librettist, Co-founder
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October 26th 2011
House of Lords

Ben Kaye ~ Human Trafficking Foundation Chairman Anthony Steen ~ Adam Gorb ~ House of Lords

It was a great honour indeed for Adam Gorb and I to be invited to The House of Lords on October 17th to represent Anya17 at the inaugural HTF Media Awards. Never having visited Parliament before, the sense of occasion was even more heightened as we were ushered past the thousands of tourists, through the private gates and into this extraordinary centre of power, declaimed by its extravagant, almost gothic architecture and interior restrained magnificence.

Neither Parliamentary film footage nor the ubiquitous London postcards could have prepared me for the scale or opulence of The Lords. Both Adam and I though spent our time wisely though, talking with many representatives from Human Trafficking Charities and political figures about Anya17, as well as listening to speeches from Trafficking victims and media figures.

Having seen so many ‘shots’ of The Houses of Parliament from across the river it was strange to see the London Eye and so many other new landmarks from the deeply historically-entrenched perspective of The Lords. Despite the radically-altered skyline I couldn’t help but be transported back to Pepys, the Great Fire and strangely enough the freezing of The Thames, together with its accompanying Chestnut sellers, braying their wares from behind glowing braziers on the ice – such is the lot of a poet!

From an Arts perspective I was absolutely bowled over by a truly extraordinary exhibition of charcoals by the Artist Rosalie Watkins, whose powerful work portrayed a Trafficking victim ‘Kira’. If you haven’t seen these utterly exceptional works of art then you absolutely MUST visit http://www.rosaliewatkins.co.uk/rosaliewatkins.co.uk/Human_Trafficking_Project.html

In essence though our presence at The Lords was an opportunity to rouse the media and raise awareness of Sex Trafficking in particular and more generally Human Trafficking in the UK. Could I therefore take this opportunity to thank Tamlin Vickers at the HTF for the invitation following our Award nomination. Press, BBC three regions TV and much other coverage swiftly followed, including an additional promise of coverage from BBC Radio 3.

My next blog will cover my visit to No. 10 Downing Street and the possibility of a performance in Strasbourg in April courtesy of Bob Walter MP and the UK’s Presidency of The Council of Europe.

Auditions for Anya17, (and filming) begin in just over a week, so I’ll no doubt be back in touch very soon!

Oh yes… Funding! To date we have received no funding whatsoever, so if you would like to help (and incidentally become the owner of the very ‘first’ T Shirt design before it changes in a few days time) please spend the equivalent of a couple of double mocca chocca chinos and you can say that you were in at the beginning! http://anya17.spreadshirt.co.uk

Please be aware that the back of the T Shirts contain sexually explicit content appropriate to the cause. For younger wearers I recommend the ‘Front Only’ option.

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Author: Hayley Chappell - Online Marketer
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October 18th 2011
Anti-Slavery Day: Writing for Justice

It’s all go in the Anya17 camp this week (Today is Anti-Slavery Day, we’re nominated for our first ever award from the Human Trafficking Foundation, Ben’s off to Number 10 and our brilliant T-Shirts have just launched). As the brand new online media manager, there’s nothing quite like being thrown in at the deep end!

I’m Hayley and barely two weeks ago I picked up the phone and spoke to Anna for the first time about the possibility of volunteering for Anya17 as their online media manager. A few days later and I found myself on the end of a phone to Ben, discussing ideas for this blog and our Twitter feed – and I hadn’t even agreed to volunteer at that point!

A country-loving southern living up in the industrial north of England, I found out about Anya17 through Sheffield based charity City Hearts, who work with victims of human trafficking to rehabilitate them and, where possible, reunite them with their families in their home countries. Through City Hearts, I’ve met women who have been trafficked to the UK to work in the sex industry. The thing that struck me most about them was this; they could be anyone. They could be me. They could be you. They have mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, friends and boyfriends. They are girls who, at one time or another, found themselves in what ended up being the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people. (At this point I feel I should interject that both men and women can be victims of trafficking – the statistics are quite shocking – but the focus of Anya17 is that of the stories of the women trafficked for sex).

Speaking to Ben over the phone I could tell he was hugely passionate about giving these faceless, voiceless young women a platform to make their voice and their stories heard. What comes across – and I’m sure it’s more obvious in person – is his belief that even doing something, no matter how small, can make a difference.  And that’s ultimately why I agreed to be Anya17’s online media manager. Using my ability to blog, my unhealthy addiction to social media, and my journalist head to help raise a voice for these people and in some way, make a difference.

Over the next few months I hope we’ll build a large online following both interested in the opera and in raising awareness and fighting against this incredible injustice. I’m excited to see a more “traditional” art form, the opera, catapult a serious modern-day world issue into the public psyche and to the fore of the political arena.

Anya17, in my mind, is a story with many sides, told by many people. And this blog is where you’ll see them unfold.

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Author: Ben Kaye - Librettist, Co-founder
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October 6th 2011
Invitation to No. 10 Downing Street

With the various musical collaborations I have been involved with over the past few years, some moments really stick in my mind. Hearing my words set to music for the very first time was a big one. JAM made it all come true for me at Southwark Cathedral with Paul Patterson’s ‘The Fifth Continent’ and I will never forget that first opportunity, nor that evening. JAM has a superb run of concerts touring Scotland this month by the way, so do visit http://www.jamconcert.org to find out more.

I have to admit (with a great sense of shame) that other highlights include the first BBC broadcasts and even being asked for my autograph for the first time. Very vain I know – but not easily forgotten – nor ever repeated! Better by far were the hugs I received from bereaved families at the ‘Eternal Voices’ concert last year for the fallen in Afghanistan, and hearing ‘Thoughts Scribbled on a Blank Wall’ at Westminster (again through JAM) was a pretty humbling experience.

Official praise is great too; perhaps the curse of writers everywhere. Two days ago an envelope landed on my doormat. It was an invitation to meet the Prime Minister at No. 10 Downing Street later this month in recognition of all that Adam Gorb, myself and the volunteers have done to bring this project to fruition.

With a budget of £0.00 and having to search for loose change between the sofa cushions just to travel to meetings, do the research etc. I may even have to shave for this one…

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Author: Ben Kaye - Librettist, Co-founder
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September 25th 2011
Second Documentary Confirmed

Directly inspired by the Anya17 project, a recent call from the BBC confirmed that they have decided to start filming a short Documentary on Human Trafficking in the UK.

Spearheaded by the much-respected Simon Clemison, the Documentary will form part of the BBC’s ‘Inside Out’ series, and although predominately focussing on the South West (where I’m based) it is hoped that the magnitude of the subject will ensure BBC broadcasts in many other regions.

I am absolutely delighted that Anya17 has stimulated this interest, and despite the fact that ‘Anya’ is unlikely to feature much in the film, Anya’s true purpose will be well served.

Many thanks to Simon and all at the Beeb for their continued support!

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